Using long exposures, ranging from 20 seconds to 60 minutes, I have worked with the camera’s unique ability to “average time” in order to examine and understand the mechanisms of human perception and to reconcile our differing subjective and objective views of the world. I believe that our sense of experience is built up over time - a composite of many short-term events. For example, if you meet someone for the first time, your impression of that person is not a snapshot in your mind of the first time you saw that person, but rather a portrait you have assembled from many separate moments. Each time that person exhibits a new facial expression or hand gesture, you add that to your impression of who that person is. Your image of that person - how you feel about that person -- is formed over time, rather than upon a single expression or gesture.
Likewise, I believe that our impression of the world is based upon our total experience. For example, the ocean has always made me feel calm, relaxed, and contented. If I were to take an instantaneous snapshot of the ocean, the photo would include waves with jagged edges, salt spray, and foam. This type of image does not make me feel calm - it does not represent how the ocean makes me feel as I stare out over the water. What I am responding to is the underlying, fundamental form of the ocean, its vast expansiveness and the strong line of the horizon, both of which are very stable, calming forms.
With this series of images I have used the camera as a scientific instrument, the way a biologist might use a microscope or an astronomer a telescope, to reveal what is felt but often unseen.
- David Fokos