It just doesn’t look the same in the picture

Jack Handscombe


For time immemorial, people have tried and failed to capture the fleeting effects of nature. ‘It just doesn’t look the same in the picture’ is a work that comes from the futility of the camera flash against the vast canvas of the sky. At this very moment, there are thousands of cameras pointed towards a horizon as somewhere on the planet the sky is ablaze with the painterly sublime of a sunset. The liminal time between day and night suffuses the world with magical colours and we so often are drawn to capture this totalising display of colour of unimaginable scale in our camera phones. We bid our little cameras to do the impossible, in the low light they strain for more photons, flashing in desperation towards the nebulous clouds over two kilometres away. But what if we created images that are only activated by the flash of a camera? The highly engineered retro reflective fabric used in ‘It just doesn’t look the same in the picture’ inverts the relationship of the inadequate camera to the inadequate eye – by revealing a sunset that can’t be seen until captured in a flash photograph

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