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Inspiration Tuesdays: Michael Wesely

by Philippe Dame on March 20th, 2012

If you consider “long exposure” to be 30 seconds or a few hours then what will you think of a single photo taken with an open shutter for 3 years! That’s exactly what German photographer Michael Wesely has been pioneering since the early 1990s.

Michael has been developing techniques employing tiny apertures and other light filters to permit a camera to remain focused and open on a single scene for years. He claims his technique can be adapted for even long duration such as ten or twenty years.

In a 2004 book he published called “Open Shutter“, he

…Some of Wesely’s pictures of the rebuilding of Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, for example, in a series completed in 1999, were continuously exposed over a period of 26 months. The results of Wesely’s explorations are as surprising as they are beautiful. In 2001, as The Museum of Modern Art began to prepare for its ambitious construction and renovation project, a turning point in its history, it recognized in Wesely’s work an unequalled opportunity to artistically document that project. In August of that year, then, Wesely set specially designed cameras in long-term installations in and around the museum, choosing his locations for the construction views they provided. Nearly three years later, the images are complete, and their pentimento-like strata of transparencies and overlays render the construction project’s evolution in time as a dense and delicate network of forms and colors in space. Open Shutter accompanies an exhibition organized by Sarah Hermanson Meister, Associate Curator of the museum’s Department of Photography. Included in the book are several images of the construction of the new Museum of Modern Art.

Here are some of his works. Remember there is no Photoshop used. This is all done in the camera!

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