One Project, Four Presentations: Sea Change by Michael Marten

Photographer Michael Marten’s project about tidal landscapes across the British coastline was published recently on The Guardian’s website with an interactive presentation where the viewer uses a slider to quickly move between the two photographs of the same scene. This web presentation sits in interesting contrast to the way the photos are presented on Marten’s own website, in a more traditional ‘side by side’ diptych. (I can’t link directly to the presentation, but visit the site to see for yourself). Further, the project is also being shown as an exhibition at gallery@oxo in London, is available as a video animation on his site and is being published in book form. This makes an interesting case-study of different presentations of the same photographic project.

I’m not sure if this is the greatest project to show off this web “technology” (or should I say “technique”) but I think it is an interesting example of how photography can be presented on the web in ways that would be very difficult to do in other media. Certainly difficult in anything approaching mass media. I’d be curious to see this applied to some of the numerous ‘re-photography’ projects done by photojournalists around the world. Like John Stanmayer’s “Tsunami Revisited” or Jim Marshall’s “Sarajevo 1996/2011”.

I haven’t seen the gallery show nor the book, but I think that even despite the novelty of this web trick (which perhaps undermines the ‘fine art’ nature of the project) it is probably the best way to share the essence of the project about the widely ranging landscapes underneath British tides. The immediacy of the web presentation at The Guardian is my favorite way to interact with this project. Though the time-lapse video animation on his site is also pretty interesting, with a four-hour view of the same scene featuring many people and vessels wandering the scene. What do you think?

(thanks to Michael Bowring for showing me this)