IT’S a still image that is more about time than space. Remarkably, the picture has not been Photoshopped: it’s simply a different way of looking at the world. If The Doctor had a camera, he might take shots like this. And as it happens, the title sequence for the BBC show in the 1970s was created with a similar “slit-scan” technique.
Slit-scan cameras take many images in vertical slices, and stack them side by side. The result is that anything stationary, in the background, appears blurred, while anything passing by the slit jumps out at you, clear against the smear. This photo shows a field in Siem Reap, Vietnam, taken by photographer Jay Mark Johnson of Venice, California.
It’s hard to get your head around. The camera views the world through an unmoving vertical slit, taking successive shots over time. The left side of the image here corresponds to the earlier shots and the last sliver on the far right is the most recent. It’s a time-panorama. The background didn’t move, so is smeared out, but the farmer and his buffalos passed by. If the farmer had stopped for a while in front of the slit he would appear elongated; had he raced past the camera, he would appear compacted.
“I make photographic time lines,” Johnson says on his website. “Because the photographs seamlessly blend visual depictions of space and time into a single hybrid image they provide an altered ‘spacetime’ view of the world.”