March 1, 2015

An "Eye Flying" Photo: News Pics Playing With Perception

If most people who saw this in various “photo of the week” galleries simply thought, “that’s cool,” I think there’s more to it than that. As we sort out the take-aways from the recent spate of photo contests, one is that news photography is evermore concerned with stimulus, and what’s more more artistic and abstract and perceptual.

One thing that’s cool here is how the one photo seems to contain five photos, each judge (courtesy of the white window frame and sill) in his own snapshot (or Vine, even), the windows floating against a black background so they, even more than the skier, are floating in space (or in our own visual minds).

If the photo is about motion, what’s also interesting is how the focus, and the real movement here, has just as much to do with the “do-re-me” of the judges than the status or progress of the skier. In fact, the progression of blue-and-black head-cocked judges is a clever mirror and high speed foil for the experience we can most relate to: not world Nordic skiing, but everyday scanning and swiping.

Bring on the eye tracking software, Ms. Quinn.

(photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters. caption: Finland’s Janne Ahonen soars past judges windows during the normal hill HS100 mixed team ski jumping event of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun Feb. 22, 2015.)

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Michael Shaw
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