Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Zeno's Paradox of the Arrow (and another day of photography)

Yesterday was extremely windy.  It was while I was out walking around in the wind, wind that I later learned was part of a new hurricane that recently showed up on the radar, that I started thinking about Zeno of Elea.

Zeno was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher.  He theorized about many things, motion being one of them.  His paradox of the arrow logically comes to the conclusion that motion does not exist.  Of course we seem to live in a world filled with motion (leaves blowing all over the place while the trees bend at the wind's mercy and rain drops slam into your face) and thus, his conclusions seem to be paradoxical.

The argument goes as such - imagine an archer is preparing to shoot an arrow at a target.  The arrow is a certain size, occupying a specific amount of space.  He shoots it.  Though the arrow appears to move from the bow to the target, at any specific point in time, though the arrow my be in the air, it is static, occupying no more space than it ever does, not moving to a position where it is yet to be.  Time and motion are composed of these instances, and since in these instances everything is at rest, motion is an illusion.

Of course, Aristotle himself had certain responses to the many paradoxes that Zeno came up with.  And since then, many other people brought up opposing conclusions from the argument and found elements of the premises that were fallible. 

Regardless of the authenticity of the paradox, I started thinking about it on a day that seemed to be filled with motion, and so decided to capture it in photo series form.

  Zeno's Paradox Series: Ribbon in the Wind
 I am yet to decide on the exact rules of this photo series.  I want to capture images of things that appear to be in motion without using the standard long exposure method.  The long exposure method would show what Zeno is arguing against - things in a transitional period - images with blur and such.  I want to capture precise instances that the subject (as it is) appears to be occupying solely the space that it occupies...just in different locations.  Multiple images, each showing a unique location of the subject, seems to be the best method.

- So really this just seems to be a study of motion series...the difference being it came about by thinking about some old Greek guy -

Today, September 13

This is a photo of a model of a street in Belfast city.  No, it isn't.  I lie.  It is a tilt-shift photograph of a street in Belfast city.  With a police officer taking a picture of the ticket he just placed on a vehicle.  Using a tilt-shift lens (homemade, of course) gives certain images a quality similar to that of a photograph of a die-cast model.

Odd Position
I think a second after I took this picture, he fell over.

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