Dawn and Dusk

Country: UK
Available Format/s: 16mm / HD Video


This film is about the representation of light through an exploration of time-lapse photography.  The sky, the roof of a building and some tree tops was framed in a fixed position to enable a comparative study of changing light to be made over a period of time. The film was shot ‘in camera’ taking 1 frame every 30 seconds for 31 consecutive days from new moon to new moon. The filming took place for 90 minutes at dawn, starting before daybreak when it was still dark, then again for 90 minutes at dusk filming into darkness. The starting time for the dawn section was adjusted and made later each day and made continuously earlier for the dusk section to compensate for the changing sun rising and setting times. The aperture was set at F2, which was constant for all of the filming. Filming started in darkness each morning for each of the dawn sections, when the image was under exposed, and as it became lighter an image gradually began to register on the film. Then, subject to the intensity of the morning light and the prevailing weather conditions, the image became over exposed and gradually disappeared in the morning light. However over exposure did not always occur if the weather for morning filming session turned out to be dull and overcast. This whole procedure is reversed for evening section, starting from over exposure before sunset, and gradually to under exposure at dusk, and then into darkness after the sun had set.

The unpredictability and anticipation of what might be recorded on film each day at dawn and dusk, over the period of 31 consecutive days, made this an interesting but challenging experience and filming discipline. The time lapse appears to create a cycle and light rhythm which is distinctive to film.

This film has also been presented in the form of still film frames which depict an overall visual gradient of changing light. It also enables visual comparisons and differences to be made between the individual frames in a sequence, between each section of dawn and dusk, and the differences between each of the sequences taken on consecutive days.   

More works by John Woodman

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