January 11, 2007

Frame 14

Symmetry kills

First read about Xiao Kang on Kinetic’s blog. Then got sucked into the vacant spaces and the story behind the photos.

According to the website, the photographer is a schizophrenic who set out to create the perfect roll of photographs. “…each roll of film must not only have one ‘good’ picture but all 36 images should be perfect. that is the plan.”

And so he shot the same set of 36 images 36 times over two years, each roll inching closer and closer to perfection. After the 36th roll, he taped the camera to his hands and jumped to his death.

The story is the stuff of legends. But far more uncanny is the symmetry hidden in his photographs. If the photos are in fact digitally untouched, as stated by the curator in the guestbook, then there is far more to them than meets the eye.

At least in Frame 13 – 19, seemingly random patterns — cracks in the paintwork, drip marks on the stairs — reveal themselves to be coincidentally symmetrical. And yet this man-made symmetry is concealed by clever lighting and composition.

These are most obvious in Frame 13 and 14. Some think that Xiao Kang used mirrors which he painted over. I won’t even pretend to understand how it’s done. Presumable something like what magicians used to do with smoke and mirrors.

What I would really like to see is a happy ending to all this. So if you know someone by the name of Pauly…

Posted by Karen at January 11, 2007 07:25 PM in photography

I saw his set of photos some time back and was just looking at them again through Farm.sg the other day. It’s quiteeee scary. Somehow his pictures have this certain ‘something’ that draws me back to wonder and think more about his death. If you look carefully, shot 32 onwards.. Perhaps he shot those random strange pictures as he jumped? I don’t know. Haha. I would like to find out though, what’s with shot 32 onwards.

Posted by: dawn at January 12, 2007 09:29 AM

“Presumable something like what magicians used to do with smoke and mirrors.”

Or it could all be one big hoax. Take a look at shot 3. Branches on top left and top right corners are “amost” perfect lateral inversions.

Posted by: jimmy at January 13, 2007 12:07 AM

oh btw, where can we see the rest of the images on the other 35 rolls?

Posted by: jimmy at January 13, 2007 12:12 AM

I don’t think the rest were realeased. Still looking for them too though. Haha :-)

Posted by: dawn at January 13, 2007 09:09 AM

Oh. And I just looked at shot 3 again. I’m starting to think that his roll of films were edited. cause the branches ARE lateral inversions. I was observing every twig and it’s turn. haha. Well, but anyway, whther the films were edited or not, his photos are nevertheless pretty amazing. Composition wise.

Posted by: dawn at January 13, 2007 09:12 AM

to be honest, first time ben told me this story, i thought to myself “urban legend”. i thought the website would change my opinion, but it has only made me wonder even more.

Posted by: jimmy at January 13, 2007 11:16 AM

That site was first recommended to me by a close friend who’s a photographer. I was quite freaked out after visiting the site. I was looking at the photos in the middle of the night alone in my bedroom. :( Somehow it gives me the creeps.

Posted by: @llie at January 16, 2007 05:24 PM
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