Man in the Middle – the idea
We all view life through our own lens. We may see the exact same object in front of us however it looks different to each beholder. It has always fascinated me when returning from a photographic outing with other photographers, how notably dissimilar our images are even though they were taken at the very same location at the same time.
We are familiar with WYSIWYG but consider WYSINWOS – or What You See Is Not What Others See. The final image in our mind is heavily processed by our internal belief system and the way we as an individual view the world. With these observations pinballing in my mind an idea occurred of trying to represent this photographically. This would entail setting up a number of cameras around a subject with each camera having it’s own perspective and interpretation of the very same subject. The cameras had to be synchronised thus capturing that one moment frozen in time and a mixture of camera formats, films and lenses would provide the necessary variety. In that space each camera would see in part and no camera would see the complete big picture. The end result would be multiple images of the same subject at the same time all viewed from their individual angle and each photograph emphasizing how we all see uniquely and not completely.
The tricky question was how to get all the cameras firing at the exact same moment when in an inspirational flash the solution came in having all the cameras mounted on tripods in complete darkness, with all their shutters open in bulb mode and then a triggered studio flash would illuminate the subject – one moment captured in time, captured several times. As for the subject – it had to be a human. At this stage it was still a solo project and so the man in the middle was provisionally me. I even pondered the ridiculous thought of creating the ultimate selfie as there would be a considerable number of cameras involved but sanity prevailed and as I would later find out, the execution was much bigger than what I initially imagined. This off the wall and challenging project remained a virtual dream for a few years until 2018. Thankfully some kind people entered the arena and stepped up to the Mark who now gratefully could attempt the project with their help. A true godsend and a man in the middle was found.