Time in a can: a photographic project using cans as cameras

posted on July 4th 2013 in Arts & Inspiration & Photography & Recycle with 0 Comments

The exhibition “Time in a can” shows 56 solarigraphies of international photographers.

For this project more than 200 cans were placed during 6 months in different places.

How can we photograph the sun? This was the question Diego Lopez Calvín wondered thirteen years ago when taking the pictures from the movie ‘Lucia and sex’ by Julio Medem. The film, in which the sun is the star, left a thought in his mind. “We thought we could do a project that spoke of the differences in the perception of the sun at different latitudes of the Earth,” says Lopez Calvín, which then sought Decyk Slavomir friends and Pawel Kula, who worked the ancient technique of the pinhole (photo that is made without lenses, whose dark cameras capture occurs through a hole).

We started doing these long exposures with pinhole cameras to sunlight in northern Europe and Ecuador. This is how solarigraphy was born.” says Lopez Calvín. To make the sun draw its path from summer solstice to winter solstice in photosensitive paper, photographers used cans with a hole through which sunlight entered.

Do you know that the sun’s image you see is not real? It takes eight minutes to reach your eyes,” says Decyk in a tone between mysterious and poetic, before the opening of the exhibition ‘Time in a can‘, the exhibition that brings together 56 solarigraphies of 40 photographers from across the world.

The cans were exposed six months and were equal for the 40 photographers, allowing them to then make some observations: the sun rises perpendicularly for 365 days a year in the same way in Ecuador, while in northern Europe, the sun runs very close to the horizon when the winter solstice, and very high in summer.

How do these cans work?

We needed a lightweight container, which was resistant to rain, light tackle and we could use as a dark camera,” says Lopez Calvín.

The advantage of these cameras is they are worldwide. In Spain 9 out of 10 cans of drinks consumed are recycled. In total, over 200 beverage cans were used for the project . The cans act as pinhole cameras. Inside the container, the photo paper is rolled and there is a small hole from where light enters. “The photo is not revealed, not fixed. We work with direct images. Put the photo paper and let the sun draw the image on sensible paper,” says photographer creator of the project.

The poetic halo of the exhibition”Time in a can” is the fact that many of the objects within the pictures are gone. “In this picture there were boats and seagulls, but a seagull erased another one, or it was maybe done by the sun. That is something interesting,” Lopez Calvín says.


You can learn more about the project on their website, as well as on their facebook or twitter pages.

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