Lifestyle & Parenting

The Man Who Froze Time at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

November 22, 2016

Something remarkable happened in the 1930’s: American engineer, photographer, filmmaker and underwater explorer, Harold Edgerton froze time. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) electrical engineer graduate earned his Ph.D. studying stroboscopic light on electrical machinery to visually slow down fast and intricate movement. Edgerton eventually developed techniques to use the strobe on photographic images advancing aerial, underwater, nighttime, shadow and time-lapse photography, along with film and sonar research, to name a few. —Laura Busby

What does this strobe do you ask? The flashing light of the stroboscope will freeze the motion of any type of movement and it’s particularly useful for when something is moving faster than the human eye can register (i.e. the human body and animals in ultra-fast motion), the impact of bullets on objects and liquid formations.  

Bullet through apple

Edgerton’s images captured with the aid of stroboscopic light were so stunning and groundbreaking that they not only made waves in the engineering and scientific communities, but his images were some of the first photographs ever displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1937, heralding a new acceptance of photography as medium of art.

Not impressed yet? He was besties with explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and utilized his advancements of the stroboscope to search underwater for the Loch Ness monster. Oh, also, he won an Oscar for his 1940 MGM produced short film titled Quicker’n a Wink. No joke!  

The exhibition,The Man Who Made Time Stand Still: The Photographs of Harold Edgerton is available October 16, 2016 to April 9, 2017 and will present some of the most iconic images from Edgerton’s career. In 2013, the Winnipeg Art Gallery acquired 60 prints from the MIT archives and 31 of the images will be on display.

Adult admission $12. Open daily: 11am – 5pm. Fridays: 11am – 9pm. Closed Mondays.

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