Seeing Beyond the Human Eye | Off Book | PBS


Uploaded by PBSoffbook on 28.06.2012

Transcript:
We're allowed to see now interesting natural phenomenon that we couldn't see with
the naked eye. There's so much that's just beautiful and their image will capture correctly.
Being able to show people a massive amount of time in
a short piece, I think is really beautiful.
Having that power with the
format is something that's extremely beneficial for people
to appreciate what is already there.
Science can be beautiful. Art can be scientific.
Some of the most beautiful images I've ever seen are produced either through a
telescope or through a microscope.
At it's heart, the microscope will basically allow you to see something that you
cannot see with the naked eye. Photomicrography began in the 1830's. William Talbot
basically took a light microscope, removed the
eyepiece and projected the image that he would've seen with his eye
on to a white wall. He then took a photograph of that image
and that was basically how it began.
Today, photomicrography is relatively easy to do.
In the simplest case, you can basically just attach a
camera to the eyepiece. And so that's actually used very commonly for
imaging things like
crystals to insects to fluorescent images
of intracellular particles, of virtually
every single cell and tissue within the human body. When you spend your time staring at images
you can't help but
think about the aesthetic of what you're looking at
and how best to present that image.
So a lot of those issues
people think about when they're taking a conventional photograph, also apply to photomicrography. The only
difference is that we may be looking down a microscope as opposed to looking at a macroscopic object.
You can photograph the moon, any of the plants in the solar system. You can photograph the sun,
stars, galaxies: the biggest and most numerous objects out there.
In the late fifties, early sixties everybody wanted to see the stars and so did I and that's how I
started in photography.
Most of us are using full spectrum cameras like a Canon or a Nikon DSLR.
In the case of the hubble images, they're looking at narrow-band filters of iron,
sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen and trying to pick up the light from
different nebulae that are fluorescent in these narrow back holes.
The sheer art of the images, the colors, the dynamic range, and the shapes and the beauty.
That's one level of attraction. And the other one is the science, the knowledge those same
images provide.
They teach us things. The photographs and the general study of the night sky
shows us our true place in the universe as little tiny things of
not much consideration or significance.
Basically by looking back out into space, we're in a way looking back at ourselves.

The element that draws you into slow motion is it's a moment that slows down the action and
presents it to you in a much more clear fashion.
The technology behind slow-motion is allowing the lens on the camera to open up and see more frames in a condensed period of time.
In terms of slow-motion exhibition I think the most interesting aspect of it
is the fact that we're allowed to see now things we've never seen before. For example
the hummingbird's wings flapping. You couldn't see that under any other circumstance
beside high-speed slow-motion acquisition. Eight Hours in Brooklyn was almost an experiment. Coming from a
documentary background, I always thought it would be really cool to shoot docu-style with the phantom.
The subject matter was all just us driving around on a Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn in the summer.
My favorite clips in the whole thing are the clip of the basketball players screaming and the clip of the kids in the spring yard because those
are actually moments of raw spontaneity and raw emotion and that kind of stuff can't really be staged. In India we shot a festival called Holi. It's a celebration
for Indian culture.
It's just these beautiful colors and things being thrown around. It's really awesome to see people
coming together in this atmosphere where without the colors it's very depressing.
But once the colors go in the air and the smiles are on people's faces, there's a very
spiritual experience. I think why I love shooting slow motion so much is because it adds this
beautiful aesthetic to where people actually want to look. I'm just passionate
about making people aware of the beauty of life.

I like the idea that photographers work their entire life to
capture a few hours of time.
There were forty thousand images in the Manhattan Project and it took me five months.
It was an idea of slowing down the rest of the world while speeding up the people around it.
When I first moved to New York City it was extremely intimidating. The grandiosity of it.
There's so many talented people,
there's so many things happening that it's hard to feel like you're anything better than anything else.
You want to do something big and you're going to make
it and you get here and you feel like a tiny little speck.
This project for me was a way of wrapping my arms around the city and being able to feel
more than this city made me feel.
I wanted to show the humanity. I had to stop focusing on
pretty buildings and tons of cars. I wanted it to have that wave from the humanity
of it up into the grandiosity of it and
back down into the humanity of it again.
What the camera allows you to see is what people call the beauty of nature or the symmetry of
nature.
New technologies allow us to see things that we could never see before.
What that appeals to and what
that speaks to is just the curiosity of the human mind.
I think it's cool for people to see things they've seen so many times before shot in this different format
and get people to
appreciate what is actually already there.