I have been working by my window for over a year now…looking at the DLR platform like one looks at a mountain or the seascape for inspiration when one wants the mind to wonder somewhere else.

One day, out of the blue, I saw that all the 4 people waiting for the train on the platform were on their smartphones – either talking or looking at the screen as one must do nowadays. The daylight was so beautiful, the colours so cinematographic that I told myself: how come I have never noticed this before? I must do some work about this.

Immediately, I took my camera and set up my time-lapse device. I wanted to capture people waiting for the trains and how they avoid the boredom of doing so. As the time-lapse tests got better with the timing of the trains that change frequency throughout the day, my creativity got sharper. I could visualise a whole new project; how it’s going to be presented and the look it’s going to have.

I am still working on it, though I got my first video – a whole day photographing people on a platform on a winter’s day. I think I am going to add sounds and maybe I will change the exposure of the images. Some things I have already set in my mind:

  • there will be another 3 videos
  • they are going to be shot in Spring, Summer and Autumn;
  • they will all be one minute long;
  • they will be all shot from a slightly different angle from one another;
  • they will have slightly different looks.




I hope I will be able to show that the project is evolving as it goes along…that I am learning with the project…that it will be clear that I am getting better at editing and adding audio. Let’s see, but first let me show the trial that is live on youtube – just a short version of the one minute video.


I wish I could really enjoy this moment; to be able to have space in my head for absorbing all I know I learnt from this project. But right now my mind is somewhere else…

Platform-Autumn is finally edited and live on YouTube – at least the short version of it, as usual. It was yet another very interesting chapter of this project.

I shot 3 times – it was the first time I re-shot. I kept waiting for a foggy day and when it happened I didn’t like the result so I re-shot it and was OK with it when another incredible foggy day came up and I re-shot for the third time.

After that, there was this massive hiatus between shooting and editing as I was still working on Platform-Spring and my mind was totally into it.  Then life took its toll again and I couldn’t get enough space in my head to finish Autumn.

When I indeed got some time, I got stuck. I thought I wanted it to be Black & White, I thought prepared myself for having that silent movie look I talked about previously but when it got to the point of actually making it, I don’t think it worked.

Don’t get me wrong, the B&W looks really nice but it doesn’t go with the other 3 or 4 if you count the main projection, the Tunnel – remember Project Platform has been shaped to be a video installation (image below).

Project Platform – video installation (illustration)

Anyway, now that’s ready I feel I can only get excited about it if I think of how it’s going to actually look once it’s installed and I know this might never happen. So, as I said at the beginning: I wish I could enjoy realising I’ve finally finished the project, but I guess we artists are always with our head on the next creation. Whilst I was making Platform I kept thinking about all my other artworks, the old ones and the ones to come… that’s the thing about artists, we never do one thing in a linear way…

I’m now excited to be planning to go back to stitching again.

Platform – Autumn _short  – https://youtu.be/s6Aj7q81U4Y


I like the look I’ve achieved with the Platform – Summer, not sure about the editing though but very happy with the colours and texture the digital pinhole has created. I think the longer version is definitely more interesting than the short one, though.

The only thing is that because I was so into the Platform – Spring post-production when I was shooting Platform – Summer that the shooting process felt quite straight forward. A bit how Platform – Winter felt, actually.

What I mean by straight forward is that, after I made the “lens” and spent the day playing with the exposure, it was quite easy to shoot it. The results were coming and I didn’t feel I needed changing anything – funny how sometimes we have the feeling that a piece of work is not good enough just because we didn’t struggle with it. Just because it was a fairly easy process, it somehow feels like it is not good enough. But in the end I really like its look so I guess there’s nothing to report back on my struggles. Yes, indeed… sometimes we artists can create things that are dead easy.

Or maybe after  Platform – Spring anything is easy ;-)

Here is the final result (short version):https://youtu.be/XYPfgiO95Iw



As I mentioned on my previous entry: ... Platform-Spring has been a hard making process so far. I’m blending the images frame by frame and am allowing my daily insights to take over. The problem is that these insights change a lot and sometimes I’m happy with a good part of the film then I take a break – a week or more – and when I come back I don’t like everything I see, just some bits so I start changing again the bits I don’t like.

These breaks started happening more naturally as the second half of 2016 got more manic with the “paying the bills” side of my life. The hiatus sometimes was over two months and like with every book, there’s a point a writer has to say: stop! I did that to the Platform-Spring back in October, but I didn’t want to look at the final cut for a while. I wanted to be a bit detached from it in order to accept what it has become. Now, end of December, I am able to reassess it.

One of my favourite insights about editing comes from the online course on film production – Digital Storytelling – says:

“editing – even on a ‘normal’ film – is not so much a putting together as it is a discovery of a path… a vast amount of preparation, really, to arrive at the innocuously brief moment of decisive action: the cut – the moment of transition from one shot to the next – something that, appropriately enough, should look almost self-evidently simple and effortless, even if it is noticed at all.”

Walter Murch. In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing, 2nd Ed. (Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 2001), p.4.  

And that is it really, Platform-Spring has become what it is. I’m proud of the process but still not sure of the piece individually but I have to stop. I have to finish editing Platform-Summer (which I’m almost there) and post-produce and edit Platform-Autumn.

Now, what I really want is to be able to see the video installation ready, with all the 5 videos together. So, as soon as I finish the 4 Platforms, I’ll start working on an illustration of the installation – it’d be nice to have a proper 3D animation of the videos, but that’s going to be another story.

Here is the link to the short version of Platform-Spring, let me know what you think ;-)



It’s funny how the creative process develops and we never know where it takes you once you’ve started.

I’ve been working on blending the images taken with my mobile phone inside the DLR and the time-lapse images taken from my balcony and as I work on it more and more ideas come to mind – specially, because in the mean time I’ve been taking two online courses on the subject of film via the FutureLearn website:

So thinking about film, its industry, language and all the things involved in film making has inevitably led me to think about the analogue film photography process.

For almost a year, I’ve been also working on revisiting an old project, Film Waste, commemorating 10 years since I last looked at the subject of film vs digital in photography. I’ve always thought my many different projects couldn’t really be clearly co-related. I never saw how they could represent a cohesive body of work apart from the fact that they all, in a way or another, talk about mundane things, everyday objects. But since I started Platform – Spring I feel I can see a closer co-relation between these two works: I think they are very experimental and the latter is allowing me to work more freely, without bothering too much with what things mean but instead on how they feel or look – in a similar way I work with the Film Waste project.


Platform – Spring (film still)


As I was working on more blending and thinking more and more about how this new project relates to the Film Waste one, I got this incredible email from a very dear curator/collector I’ve known for many years:


The other day I changed around some art work on my walls.
I placed the one I have of you: the small piece of film (red and black) on white background in my dining room.
Since I know my wife is a little reactionary about art, I knew I had to sell her your piece with a title. Given her partiality towards analog photography, I thought quickly and I said, as I was hanging it, “It is called Requiem for Analog Photography” by Dani Tagen.
She bought it with delight.
Then I thought: “Maybe that is what that series is all about.”



Such a sweet email, perfect timing and what a great title! Of course, Film Waste series – or should I now call it “Requiem for Analog Photography”? – has always been a comment on the overtaking of analogue photography by the digital one. I’ve always been concerned with the disappearance of the photographic medium and now Platform – Spring gives me a chance to talk about how film makes us behave in a different way, how it allow us to use the mishaps or the adversities to our own gain. Pity I’m shooting with digital, but we have to start somewhere, right?!

Anyway, Platform-Spring has been a hard making process so far. I’m blending the images frame by frame and am allowing my daily insights to take over. The problem is that these insights change a lot and sometimes I’m happy with a good part of the film then I take a break – a week or more – and when I come back I don’t like everything I see, just some bits so I start changing again the bits I don’t like.

I’ve always tried to be very disciplined and analytical…maybe trying to be too practical, but this time I want it to be different. I want to get out of my comfy zone. I can’t complain that’s a hard process actually as I just do what I feel it is right, the only problem is that I’m not used to not having my own deadlines so I feel I can work on this particular part of the project for ages.

I guess the only way out now is to keep doing it, blending and discarding and then blending more images again until I’m fully satisfied with the full video. You’ll just have to bear with me.


I’ve just realised I wrote about Platform – Summer before adding the entry for Platform – Spring. So here it is.

Lots of things have happened since my last post that prevented me from working hands on on the Spring video, however, subconsciously I’ve been thinking a lot about it as now and then I have a new insight about the whole project.

I’ve shot the Spring version and already have ideas for the Summer and Autumn ones – both inspired on old silent films so no sounds on these ones… and to be honest no sound for the Spring one either. After collecting some sounds and being very interested in them I decided to do all of the 4 Platform films silent. I still have a lot to learn about making these films happen and adding the sound editing would be too much, I think.

I’ve been watching some great B&W films and got really thinking about how mainstream cinema was more daring. I’ve watched October by Sergei Eisenstein & Grigori Aleksandrov, Micheal by Carl Theodor Dreyer,  Brief Encounters by David Lean and Story of a Love Affair by Michelangelo Antonioni. They showed me how to work with more sharp editing, really close closeups and double exposures so I decided to try some of these techniques because as a photographer, I used to love trying new techniques when photographing with film or printing.

So I decided that for the Spring film, I wanted to do double-exposures, but I’m shooting with a DSLR through my window so I kept analysing how I could make this happen. Coincidentally, I started taking the DLR twice a week at peek times and realised that the passengers use their mobiles phones more for texting on the DLR than on the tube – it makes sense as is not currently possible to use mobile phones on a significant proportion of the Underground system. That got me thinking of a way to capture images of these people and then layer the images over the time-lapse ones.

I didn’t want the passengers to notice I was doing this, though as I knew these people wouldn’t be recognisable on the pictures anyway. I then did some research on how to create macros for my Android phone and came up with one that gives me access to my mobile phone camera without actually triggering the LCD screen. So I can take pictures without looking and without being noticed either.

After some tests I started clicking away and got some really cool images like this one below:

I’m now working on the double exposures. I’ve got a good number of inside the DLR images to layer over the time-lapse ones… it’s quite time consuming to find the right match but I’m enjoying it.

A quick snippet of the first frame:

In the mean time, I’m working on the Platform – Summer. It’s going to be shot using a digital pinhole camera, which I’m adapting on my Nikon D90, and it’ll be shot on the 20th June – summer Solstice, of course!