Lakefront, Toronto (2 breaths), 2010, from the Breathing Pictures (2011)

I am interested in the experience of perception — that is, I want to draw out the brief moment of wakefulness that occurs when I notice and am truly present in the world. In that brief instant there’s a thorough overlap of multiple ways of being conscious. I'm not referring to an esoteric mysticism — rather, I’m talking about the moment of breathing, that continuous, involuntary, drawing in of the world: the ephemeral, always-just-ending, always-just-beginning, act of living.

Full Description

These pictures are made from multiple yet discrete camera exposures (i.e, not time exposures) taken from an entire scene (i.e., not fragments of a scene). The component images are taken while I am standing still — on a street corner, at an airport, by a lake —and photographing while breathing — one breath, two breaths. ¶

The final photograph is constructed by aligning the individual frames on a single feature, such as a stationary person or an architectural detail, and then blending the frames into each other. As a result, the pictures almost but not quite collapse into traditional scenic images — almost, because some features are aligned; but not quite, because the flutter of my breathing combines with movement within the scene to create fragments and moments of misalignment. ¶

The visual effect is that the picture first seems to be a normal photograph taken from the world, but then it almost immediately dissolves into a construction of its component frames. ¶

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2011
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Tuesday Aug 16th, 2011
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • seanjustice, primary creator
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