Maarten Vanvolsem: The Experience of Time in Still Photographic Images

Doctoral Project

Maarten Vanvolsem, PhD in the Arts

The strip technique used during this research allows to create new forms for the photographically representation of time. The technique itself is based on a partial exposure of the photo sensitive material, which is moving in front of the shutter or visa versa. The technique is probably first used in 1843 in a panoramic camera, but it has since been used in all sorts of ‘scientific’ fields. Often artists using the technique claim to have invented a new way of making photographic images and often do not know about the results of their colleagues. Nevertheless, a shift can be noted from the non-scientific use to the meta-photographic use of the technique in which photography itself is questioned. The ‘scientific’ manuals of the strip cameras are neglected. The panoramic camera is no longer made level, the photo finish camera is no longer fixed on the finish line. With this meta-photographic use of the technique it becomes clear, that the generally prevailing thought about photography and time, can no longer be applied to this kind of photography. The temporal component of the images, previously often ignored or reduced to a fraction of a second, now becomes the main subject of the images. My work emphasises this notion of time that is inherently part of the strip images.

Exhibition: STUK, Expozaal, Louvain (1-30 october 2006)


  • Prof. dr. Hilde Van Gelder (Supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Dr. Jan Baetens (Co-supervisor, KU Leuven)

Research Unit: Intermedia 

Duration: completed 2006


Publications and realisations

PhD Theses: Vanvolsem, M., Van Gelder, H. (sup.), Baetens, J. (co-sup.) (2006). The experience of time in still photographic images.