Friday, January 2, 2009

Time of my Life

Time of my Life is a Youtube video showing Dan Hanna aging over 17 years. He took two pictures daily for seventeen years, and strung them together into a video. His aging is very subtle. And jerky. 

In his own words:
"The following image is of the apparatus that I am using to create a stop-motion animation of myself getting older. Every day I position myself in the center of this ring and take two simultaneous photos (180 degrees apart). The ring is marked off for the 365 days of the year and a pair of crosshairs (mounted on a sliding wooden fixture) are incremented along the circumference of the ring to line up with these markings. I use the crosshairs to position my head as nearly as possible in the center of the ring. So far, I've accumulated approximately 17 years worth of photos (the project was started in '91).

There's a section of the video where half of each photo is black - what's going on?

This was the result of switching from 100ASA to 200ASA film. When I halved the shutter speed to compensate the flash was unable to sync up. ND filters were the answer. The next version of the video will use this to my advantage.

How did you find the time?
I found the time by making the daily snapshots no more time consuming than brushing my teeth. It's become such a habit now that I hardly realize I'm doing it. It only takes about a minute each day.

What gave you the idea?
I remember seeing old time-lapse films of skyscrapers being constructed and of whole cities quickly evolving over a period of years. Also I saw my share of old films where a vampire ages rapidly and turns to dust. I'm not sure but I think the idea sprang from seeing those types of images.

Where did the music come from?
The music was purchased from a royalty free buyout music company called Fresh Music. The track is called "Hiroshima" and is from their "Swing" CD. The next version will have a completely different soundtrack.

Sometimes your shoulders look contorted - what's going on?
I use crosshairs and a string to position my head in the center of the ring. Unfortunately, this does nothing to make sure that the orientation of my head is correct. This can result in my head tilting forward and back relative to my neck and shoulders. This is particulary the case when I'm traveling and I'm not able to hang the ring from the ceiling. That is, in the struggle to support the ring and position my head correctly, I would often find myself contorting my neck and shoulders.

There was also a period of a couple years where the cable release mechanism was broken and I would trigger the two cameras by hand. This meant that my head would turn to look at the crosshairs but my shoulders and arms needed to point towards the two camera.

These types of projects are narcissistic.
You're crazy. But enough about you, let's talk about me.

He must have stayed in the same room for 17 years.
Well yes, if by "room" you mean "planet".

He will grow old and shriveled and nobody will want to have sex with him.
Unfortunately, my girlfriend sort of agrees with this one."

Now sit and think about how old you are. This is the oldest you've ever been.

(From Andy Baio)

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