The concept of freezing a moment in time has long been fascinating
to visual artists. Throughout history, painters and sculptors have
endeavored to re-create one second in time that represents a larger
narrative. With the invention of photography, the artist was suddenly
able to capture a "decisive moment" in time, creating
an image that was perceived to be more real, more immediate, and
more objective than painting.
Photography came to be viewed as the "real thing," the
documentation of truth, despite the fact that, through darkroom
manipulation, a photograph could be altered to express a personal
point of view. The photographers, like the artists before them,
hoped they would leave the viewer knowing just how vital that moment
was, and why they chose that particular scene to illustrate it.
The power of a single image has become less important with the widespread
use of film and video. The moving picture has become far more accepted
in our culture as witness to the truth of the story than the static
image. Movietone News, the Zapruder film, the Rodney King video,
MTV and countless other films, documentaries, and television broadcasts
have been indelibly etched into our collective minds' eye as the
defining moments of our time. And while the still image still wields
power for most of us, it is the image in motion that completely
captures our attention.
This video project is an exploration of two visual experiences:
the image in motion and the image frozen in time.
The first part of the project investigates the image in motion through
students collaboratively planning and creating a video with a carefully
considered, but non-narrative succession of images. One of the objectives
of the project is to stimulate creativity and break through the
custom of requiring a beginning, a middle, and an end to every story
or sequence of images.
The second part of the project explores the image frozen in time,
using the video footage already taken. Students photograph three
successive frames of video directly from the video monitor and then
manipulate the images using image editing and painting software,
creating grainy, distorted, yet visually beautiful images.
Through the Moment in Time Video Project, high school students explore
aesthetic issues related to contemporary and traditional styles
of documenting life. They learn to create and be aware of formal
beauty by recording, selecting, and manipulating ordinary scenes
using a "high tech" process.