13 Magnificent Ways to Portray the Passage of Time

We live surrounded and conditioned by it, it marks our routines, we have too much or we lack, we fear and long for it, we want it to pass quickly or come back, we want to stop it and overtake it. Time is, without a doubt, something that accompanies us all equally, like day and night, and over which we have no power or control. Have you ever considered photographing the air? And the weather? The truth is that it seems impossible or at least complicated, how to photograph something that is just a concept, something that you can neither see nor touch, something that slips through your fingers? How to photograph its constant evolution? Well, with imagination in photography you can manage to portray it, if not everything, almost everything, so we are going to see 13 ways to portray the passage of time:

1.Time Lapse

Have you ever seen those videos where sunsets go by quickly, or clouds sway or the northern lights, tides rising or falling, or cars speeding through the sunrise? Normally they are accompanied by music that conditions the way in which we perceive the images. Did you know that this “video” is not really such, but that there are many photographs captured from time to time and put in a series to generate the sensation of movement?

The time lapse is a technique that requires patience, a tripod, and a photogenic environment that reveals the movement, but if you want to portray not only the movement but the sensation of the pass of the time you can’t stop trying to get a good time lapse. Here is an example of the results that can be achieved with this technique:

two. stop-motion

The Stop Motion is very similar to the time lapse in terms of technique. The result will also be image sequence that will generate both a sensation of movement and pass of the time. The main difference in this case is that you are the one who generates the movement through the composition of the elements of your image. In other words, it is a sequence of photographs in which the elements vary from situation to generate a story that can go as far as the imagination of each one. Here is a wonderful example of Stop Motion.

3. The old and the new

Many times when we want to accentuate the meaning of some concept we use the contrast to make it more obvious difference between two items. For example, in the following image we can see two aubergines, one “new” or in good condition, and the other “old” and in poor condition. There are also other elements that lead us to think of the passage of time, such as the lines drawn on the paper in fives, reminiscent of the way someone in prison counts. Judging by those stripes many days have passed, don’t you think?

4. Symbols of time

Another way to portray concepts such as time is through the entire symbology that it is associated with. If we start from the basis that time implies birth, growth, life and death, maturity and degeneration of the elements, it implies the ticking of the hands of a clock that control its course, sunrises and sunsets… From here you can get a lot of symbology for your images. Take for example the following image, in it we see a clock (a clear symbol of time for us) and two faces that make us think of the same person aged by the passage of time. With these three elements combined, get transmit the passage of time of a lifetime in a single image.

5. Movement

We do not always need movement in an image to convey the idea of ​​time in it, you have already seen it in the examples of contrast between the old and the new or in the symbology, but it is true that whenever we manage to capture movement in some way , we go from “freeze” time (static scenes) to show your tour (scenes with movement) and as all movement occurs at a specific time, the two ideas are always linked.

6. Long exposure

Long exposure photographs are those images obtained from a longer exposure time than usual. That is, those in which the shutter has been open longer than usual to be able to capture more seconds of the scene. They are more common and easier to do at night, since we have less light. You have a good example below, which not only conveys movement, but also transmit the passage of time from one player’s stride to another.

7. The four seasons

No, they are not Vivaldi’s 😉 , portray the same place in Different moments of the year, it also gives us the sensation of the passage of time. You can see a good example in the following image.

8. Sequences of time in the same image

Just as photographing the same place at different times of the year creates the feeling that time has clearly and recognizably passed, photographing the same place at different times or moments of the day, can generate the same idea of pass of the time. The sun is always a great ally when it comes to explaining time, since it, with its sunrises and sunsets, largely conditions human (and animal) activity and its conception of time. You can see it in the following image. The different positions of the sun take us to different moments of the sun’s journey through which we perfectly understand that time has elapsed from one image to another.

9. Multiple exposure

Multiple exposure is perhaps one of the easiest ways to create a photomontage. Of course, you will need a tripod, a model, a good background and a layered image editing program. Multiple exposure is based on taking different images with a changing subject or object as the protagonist and a static background. Although the image is static, we know that the subject has moved from one place to another, so the idea of ​​movement it is intrinsic. You can use this technique to represent any story that comes to mind in an original way, including, of course, the passage of time.

10. Reflections of the past or the future

Everything in photography is representable with some inspiration and imagination. Something as simple as a reflection to the past or the future can easily take us on a journey through time Return to the future, so don’t be shy and give free rein to your imagination, you will surely get wonderful images 🙂

11. Through generations

The contrast between the new and the old betrays the passage of time in anything you intend to photograph. But not everything is new and old objects, the contrast between several generations of people It’s also a great way to represent the pass of the time. Grandparents and grandchildren, parents and children, their hands, their smooth or wrinkled faces… Whatever you can think of 🙂

12. Old images in new places

Something as simple as getting an old image of an emblematic place (or not) in your city, it could be from your grandparents or that you have bought a postcard, and place yourself in the exact place where that image was taken, showing at the same time old photography and incorporating it into a new image that manages to perfectly join the current lines with those of the image, can be another interesting way of portraying the passage of time.

13. Through a story

When we see a good photograph we usually stop to think about it. It is not only a formally correct image; there is something more to good photographs than that, and that is often the story they tell us. A good story can talk about anything, from the most dreamlike and “irrepresentable” like freedom or time to something as real and solid as a stone. The important thing is that your image is capable of explaining something beyond its simple formal composition, that it is capable of transmitting to the viewer a story, a question, a doubt, an answer, anything you want. This point should be a complement of any point. Always, always, tell a story; if you succeed, no one will pass the long look over your image.

One of the most wonderful things about photography is that it allows us to represent everything. The images are static but we can represent movement, they “freeze” our instants, but they allow us to represent time, it is in two dimensions, but we can look for depth, it is in color but we can represent it in black and white, we can make dogs fly, books and human beings, we can represent any human feeling, any idea, any concept. Photography is imagination in its purest form, materialized in an image, but conceived by a brain. Here you have read 13 ways to represent time, but I am sure there are many more 😉 Just let your imagination fly, the more wings you give it, the further it will go and the more surprising results you will have.

And you know, don’t waste time, it’s fleeting 😉 if you liked it, it’s been useful, it’s opened a small window to your imagination, it’s given you a crazy desire to represent time, you’ve come up with some wonderful new idea for your images and you think someone else might find it useful… Share it! Thank you very much 🙂