Major Cities Around the World Captured in 8-Second Double Exposure Photos


One method for capturing “multiple exposure” photographs is to shoot a long exposure photograph of a scene with your camera pointed in different directions while the shutter is open. Photographer Nicolas Ruel uses this concept in an ambitious project that has taken him around the world. Titled 8 Seconds, the series features famous cities around the world (e.g. New York City, Tokyo, Beijing, Barcelona) captured in surreal multi-exposure photographs.

As the title suggests, each photograph is an 8-second exposure. After capturing a particular scene for a portion of that time, Ruel moves his camera and finishes the exposure with the camera capturing a different perspective.

Ruel then has the images turned into large scale prints on stainless steel, and has exhibited the series around the world. He has captured over 50 cities so far, and will be continuing this project for at least a few more years.

Here’s what he tells us about the work:

Any urban space, from a village to a megalopolis, provides my work with the fictional raw materials for transfi-guration. I take a formal approach to photography, based on urban design and architecture. Structuring and disarticulating these elements is the predominant method of my work. I am fascinated by transitory and transitional sites-places that in their nature and function incarnate motion and metamorphosis, such as ports, terminals, docks, highways, construction sites, churches, and stadiums. These spaces belong to a form of monumentality that when deserted inclines to material silence a vacuum in the world of things and beings.

For a number of years I have been using very long expo-sures that function like a movie set, condensing each photograph into a kind of 8-second micromovie. This long exposure makes it possible to assemble key moments in a single take, analogous to the process of condensation in dreams. Thus, in this dolly shot, I translate the actions and spectacle of the city and its residents as I follow their unceasing movement.























You can find the entire collection of photographs over on Ruel’s website.

8 Seconds by Nicolas Ruel (via Fstoppers)

Image credits: Photographs by Nicolas Ruel and used with permission

  • portra

    Don’t know what it is but the photos are quite mesmerising. Really good.

  • Karl Donitz

    well done these are fresh despite being a bit hectic.

    What do they mean though ?

  • Stirring Trouble International

    Lovely bit of photography and editing well done.

  • David

    Those pictures are very nice. I am doing something similar with OverCam app for iPhone, but Nicolas Ruel pictures are a lot more artistic and beautyfull.

  • Rugeirn Drienborough

    A very good group of images, but it is worth noting that there’s nothing in this technique that could not be accomplished by simply doing a good job of combining a similar number of images in Photoshop. if it’s the image that results that really counts – as surely it is – then this focus on the technique is merely gimmickry. The art world loves a gimmick the way young children love chocolate; hence the uncritical reception of this work.