A Year-Long Exposure of the Toronto Skyline

On January 1st of last year, photographer Michael Chrisman began shooting a solargraph by placing a pinhole camera in the Port Lands of Toronto and aiming it at the city’s skyline. Over the next 365, the rising and setting sun slowly exposed the photo paper inside. The total exposure time? 31,536,000 seconds. Instead of developing the image using traditional darkroom chemicals, he instead used a scanner to capture the extremely overexposed image — destroying the original image in the process — and ended up with the photo you see above. Those yellow lines you see in the sky shows the gradual shifting of the sun’s path over the course of 2011.

(via Toronto Star)

Image credit: Photograph by Michael Chrisman and used with permission

  • Anonymous

    Which begs the question “why?”

  • Eduardo Miranda

    which raises another question: “why not?”

  • guest

    Exactly, why not? it’s not like he had hard work with it, just let it sit there.

  • xpirex

    What a waste of time.. this page is becoming increasingly a place to showcase the pointless, ridiculous and banal..

  • Ian Potter

    This is mental! What a fab idea.

  • Ian Potter

    I know, they should just post up all the normal stuff that everyone else reports on and be like every other site out there. That would be MUCH better…

  • Dnguyen

    Why would it destroy the photo if you used traditional dark room methods? As image captured on photographic paper, I would rather see it on paper than on digital. Why would the photographer think that a scanner will capture the image when he prefers the look that was already on paper? Complete and utter nonsense!

  • lol

    The exposure time for a day is 2 hours and 24 minutes.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to troll here but the sun does not shift nor has it a path.

  • Justin

    Or, a place to showcase photographers that are experimenting with the origins of photography and science.

  • Foo

    That’s crazy talk – you think the sun has the exact same orbit each time it circles the earth?

  • randomman

    since when has art for arts sake become void? if he wants to, let him. and i’d hardly call a year long pinhole exposure banal… just saying

  • Mantis

    You sound like somebody who’s only interested in techy gadgets & new toys and not the actual art of photography.

  • Anonymous
  • Donald Page

    it absolutely changes in the sky.  the axis of the earth at different times of the year gives different paths.  why do you think winter days have less hours of sunlight than summer days…

  • Greg Planchuelo

    Oh my! I didn’t know the sun orbited around the Earth!

  • Mike Heller

    Do you also think the earth is flat?

  • Anonymous

    Troll alert.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, it is the Earth – not the Sun – that moves…

  • Moron

    I know right? The world is flat. It’s gets warmer as we get closer to the sun.

  • larr_helms

    How do you NOT use chemicals?  If you’re capturing the image on negative or paper, don’t you need to develop that paper/negative somehow?

  • Mike Heller

    The sun shifts and has a path.  The whole solar system is actually orbiting within the milky way galaxy and the galaxy itself is moving through space.  

  • Anonymous

    Sure, but it is not what we see in this photo.

  • Amryl

    I think he used a scanner because the image exposed on the paper is too overexpose, so with a digital scanner he can probably adjust the highlights. And there are paths for the sun across the sky from our point of view.

  • Marc
  • Scott M

    Would be cool to do if you lived near an airport.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like an awful smudgy way to make an image. 

    Without being told the legend of this image would it impress you as an image? So is the image great or the story? Thus, is it photography, or just an image in support of a narrative which is the actual work of art? IMHO this is less photography and more performance art.

  • Dennis Marciniak

    This is awesome – not too many people live where the photo was taken so that takes some dedication. I love this city.

  • Anonymous

    I suggest that you read up on some (really) basic science then. The sun appears to move in the sky over the year because of Earth’s orbit around it and our axial tilt. The link I posted shows how the position of the sunset on the horizon changes over six months. And obviously the sun reaches a higher point in the sky during the day in summer than it does in the winter.

    If people don’t know this then all I can do is despair at the educational system (and at how little they pay attention to the world around them).

  • Anonymous

    This is really well past ridiculous. I merely pointed out that the photo shows Earth’s movement (not “shifting of the sun’s path”). We are in agreement all along you just
    haven’t noticed.

  • Anonymous

    You said that the “sun does not shift nor has it a path” (though really, it ‘shifts’ in the sky and it traces a path across the sky, so as stated your statement was incorrect).

    Please don’t blame others for correcting you when you didn’t make the effort to be clear about what you meant in the first place.

  • xpirex

    Did you say art?  Hmm.. 

  • Za_rux


  • alupigus

    But please, show us the true meaning of art or stfu, you condom accident !

  • KZ

    Exposing to light destroys original “photo”, event chemicals do the same – there is only one known method to capture mage – scan at max resolution as quickly as possible.

  • 12dave345z

    I wonder why the moon is absent in this image?  Or is it…???

  • uudens

    I wonder which sun-path line was the first – the rightmost or the leftmost? Seems like left would be winter since it’s lower in the sky, so left first and then moving to right

  • Fannymeekes

    man, what a bunch of douche bags on this site.  can’t you people simply appreciate the image and how it was created?  oh and btw it is art and you didn’t come up with the idea or make the image.  it’s just like people who have no clue about art and/or art history saying that pollock was a lousy painter and his work isn’t art.  way to “get it” oh and be open minded.