Press "Enter" to skip to content

Units of unusual measure


7 Jiffies, November 2014

It may seem unusual to have a favorite proportion, like a favorite color or writer. But spaces are not quite right all the way up to the point they are, and there is scarce distinction between.  I won’t  insist I have the weight of Fibonacci on my side or some tacit approval of Pythagoras. It’s more about comfort or visual ease than aesthetics or some sacred geometry.  For me there’s no shape like the 5×7 format. 1:1.4. Even the reverse expression is beautiful- loopy, but not too rococo. 0.714285714285714285714285714285.

I’d like to coin some units of measurement specifically for photos.  Like the area between the subject and camera where you chose not to setup. Take Morgen, from the Dutch,  which is the amount of land the could be reasonably expected to be tilled by one man and an ox in the morning hours of a day. As is, the scale is all wrong, but it does literally mean morning, which brings to mind wonderful light. Or a unit for an empty corner of a print that has no useful information, but which can’t be cropped away. Spaces that are neither obliging or non-committal. Maybe a Pony would do for a grazing tour of these small dark regions, but that already means three-quarters of an ounce, and is a bit twee besides.

Maybe a simple partition of time is the most direct route to the description and understanding of these spaces. As for unusual time units  Shake sounds right, but at a mere 10 nanoseconds it is unachievable by me. A Jiffy is much more manageable at one hundredth of a second. Both exposures above took roughly 7 jiffies, if my notes are right, combined. Not sure I like that either, but it’s good enough for a working measure.

Even among the loopy,  I suppose I am not quite right all the way up the point that I am. Out in the middle of nowhere I have dwindling references with which to include myself with society at large. As such I rely more and more on odd interpretations of the inanimate, and the indistinct. As there’s no time signature exclusive to acts of departure, why not invent my own terms? It’s bound to a favorite theme around here.