Tricksy Photographer Pioneers Single Frame Timelapse Photography

When Pelle Cass was first called a “trick photographer,” he balked at the label because it seemed to stretch too far away from his noble intentions to accentuate reality with his single frame timelapse photographs—to capture hundreds of those fleeting, lesser-photographed moments of mundane living and combine them all together into one off-kilter scene.

“I was kind of offended by the term,” Cass said, “but now I’ve come to embrace it. It does sum up some of the reasons some people like my pictures—because they’re novel. There’s a degree of fun and you get to search and it’s a little bit like a puzzle, like a good trick.”

It’s all part of a project called “Selected People,” wherein Cass selects which subjects should be included or discarded in each timelapse based on recurring trends and coincidences. In this video, Cass demonstrates his process to create a single frame timelapse of an urban intersection:

Though he provided The Creators Project with his “8 Commandments of Photography,” Cass primarily governs his work according to the principle that Photoshop must only be used to increase imperfection and never to remove it.

“I have only one big rule, which is that I don’t change anything,” Cass said. “I always leave things in their original position.”

And that’s because, for Cass, everyday life is full of interesting subjects.

Instead of traveling to the ends of the earth, Cass finds beauty in the humdrum—in that moment when someone stumbles over a curb or waves to a friend, when a dog hikes a leg, or when twins suddenly emerge from a building and cross the street together.

“If you look down here, it’s just like the most ordinary pedestrian thing in the world, but I find all kinds of interesting things happen even when you think it’s just nothing,” said Cass. “Nobody’s going to go and spend hours looking at all these tiny little moments, and I can compress them and smush them together and compile them so people can look at them.”

pelle cass dog park timelapse

Amory Park, Brookline, Mass., 2012. (Pelle Cass)

lagoon III pelle cass city bikes lake trees

Lagoon III, 2013. (Pelle Cass)

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