BTS: A Look at How Pelle Cass Creates His Interesting Single-Frame Time-Lapse Shots

Back in early July, we got a chance to share photographer Pelle Cass‘ intriguing Selected People series with you. For this series, he combines hundreds of exposures to create what amounts to a time-lapse in one frame: showing what a particular location looks like over the course of many hours, but capturing it as a single moment in time.

Recently, The Creators Project got a chance to interview Cass and watch him behind the scenes as he creates these fascinating compositions. From selecting a location, to shooting it to post-processing, they followed Cass around and got some great insights from him in the process.

Here are three photos that Cass put together during his time with The Creators Project in New York City’s High Line Park:

High Line I_2013

High Line IV_2013

High Line V_2013

In addition to the video, Cass also provided eight “commandments of photography” he follows to make sure his work doesn’t digress into a gimmick. Those are:

  1. I don’t change a thing and I never move a figure or doctor a single pixel. I simply decide what’s stays in and what’s left out.
  2. My work looks real because it is real, even though it’s based on a trick.
  3. I use Photoshop to increase imperfection, not remove it.
  4. When I go out to photograph I like to have a plan because I can always bag it when I get back to the studio and do something completely different.
  5. I try to have some context so I’m not just taking pictures in the dark, as it were. So I try to read a million books, see a ton of movies, listen to all kinds of music, and go to every gallery and museum I can find.
  6. I never pass up the chance to make a joke, visual or otherwise.
  7. People tend to clump, so I look for birds and kids to fill the high and low spots.
  8. Rule: If twins happen to wander into the frame, I always leave them in so people think it’s a Photoshop trick.

He expands on each of these on The Creators Project blog, so we highly recommend you check that out if you enjoy his work.

On the other hand, if you just want to see more of what he does, you can just head over to our previous coverage or his website to look through some photos that make Boston look incredibly overcrowded.

Image credits: Photographs by Pelle Cass.

  • Guest

    Great images and a unique idea, at least I haven’t seen it before.
    I have one question though – Obviously the images are taken over a long time period, but all the shadows run in the same direction and have the same density.
    Are the shadows manipulated or am I missing something?

  • Miles

    It’s been done before, most notably for me by Peter Funch.

    The photos seem to be taken in a shortish period of time but you can see variations in the shadows. For example, take a look at the second photograph in the article, on the right there are two men walking, on in a purple top the other in a blue top, and on the phone. Their shadows are very different.

  • Slick

    sponsored by INTEL and VICE…but they cant afford a decent sound recordist ? someone throw these people a friggin Sennheiser microphone for gods sake. what was it with the interview audio ?

  • pulakb

    This is so inspiring! Ideas like these make you think, why didn’t I think of doing it before.

  • Audio Pro

    Sennheiser schmeiser