Was I ever treated to s’mores, which are graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate, the perfect camping food? I don’t remember. These s’mores, however, are a combination of a long exposure, handheld, and a short exposure, with the opacity varied by masking. Both were done “in-camera” or rather “in-iPhone” using these apps: Spectre (3 to 9 second exposures), Retouch (easy masking), and VSCO for adding or changing colour. 

I imagine it is my background in film–that is, motion pictures–which draws me toward making blurred images that encapsulate more than a fraction of a second. We don’t see things frozen as we do by our cameras, slicing time into 1/1000th of a second or shorter. Nor do we see it blurred as I do here. Nor do we see it framed, or segmented into 24 fps on film, or 60 fps in video. But we do have a built-in, biological “retention” speed, a frames per second for our eyes. 

Presented with images flashed at 12 per second, we identify them as unique stills, but at 18 fps (the old home-movie and silent film standard) and above, particularly 24 fps, we perceive those individual images as a smooth motion. With computer games running at 60 fps, the clarity begins to look almost too real for reality. Birds, however, have a higher refresh rate, allowing them to detect insects and avoid branches while flying at speed into a tree or bush. 

Using Format