Using Photography in my Computer Artworks


Session Title:

  • Digital Photography

Presentation Title:

  • Using Photography in my Computer Artworks




  • The newest version of my installation, “Homes,” is included as a part of the exhibition of the ISEA2016 symposium. The installation is constructed from several thousand photos. In connection with it, I would like to discuss the various modes of the employment of photography in my computer-based artworks.

    Three-Dimensional Space realised on the basis of Photo Series
    My “Homes” installation was completed in 2015. The installations present the interior spaces where people from the fishing village Tai O live and the kinds of objects they surround themselves with. Visitors to the installations can perambulate the virtual interior spaces with the aid of a simple interface.

    The virtual three-dimensional interiors were realised from several thousand photos taken on-site, with the technology of photogrammetry. This technology is capable of constructing three-dimensional models of the photographed objects, on the basis of the differences between the photos. The “Homes” project differs from similar heritage projects in two aspects. The first is that we intentionally used open software that are easily accessible to anyone. The other is that while the majority of similar projects represent historical edifices, this project documents the personal environment of a contemporary average individual.

    In my computer animation from 1997, “Landscape”, the illusion of three-dimensional space also is realised from photo series. Here, however, we cannot speak of three-dimensional virtual models. In the animation, just the illusion of space is realised with the aid of morph technology. Morph software is capable of engendering a feeling of almost holographic depth, by constructing a soft transition motion between photos taken from different angles.

    Motion realised from Still Images
    In the “Micro-movements in Snapshots” video installation (2015), motion is realised in just one photograph. In general, to attain the illusion of motion, several different still images are required per second. In this installation, the various details of the exact same photograph projected rapidly one after the other in the appropriate order, achieve the illusion of motion.

    Photographic Database
    The foundation for the 1998 interactive installation, “Focus”, is a database of approximately 900 photos. The photos depict people and houses. The viewer of the work can search freely among these photos with an interface that resembles the viewfinder on a camera. S/he can put an individual figure or house into focus, and then take a virtual snapshot of it. This work was produced for the “Photo ’98” festival in England, within the framework of photography and Europe. The figures appearing in the database are my own friends or family members, and the houses are their own houses in the various countries of Europe.

    Photography as Memory
    My computer-based animation entitled “Pictures” was made in 1988. Amateur family photos assembled together create a collage, whose resolution is theoretically infinite. If we enlarge a detail, then newer details emerge, which we can then further enlarge. With the aid of these enlargements, increasingly early photos become visible, i.e., increasingly older memories come to the surface.