Artist Research: Roger Vail.

Roger Vail’s project “The Carnival” is a collection of images taken of funfair rides at night using long exposure techniques. These images were taken also with a vintage film camera and no flash or manipulation, and Vail has said each image took around 3 minutes to create. This project was a “social experiment” according to Vail, and after the first image he shot of a Ferris wheel “excited him” he decided to create a series on fair rides. His first images in this project where taken in the 70’s, and printed onto large silver prints. Throughout the 90’s he then went on to print them onto platinum-palladium prints, and then in 2001 he done a third series, shooting 8 x 10 transparencies.

I personally like these images due to the fact that they have no manipulation to them. They are strong, stand out images and I like how although this whole series focuses on just the rides at the carnivals which he has travelled to, they don’t get repetitive or boring, they are all unique and have distinctive differences. I also like how you can actually see the speed difference between these rides; some clearly being slower than others due to how much blur vs. lack of blur there is in the final image. Furthermore, the fact that these photos were taken in 3 “evolution’s” – the 70’s, the 90’s and then 2001 – shows just how far photography has come, although I personally prefer the images from the 70’s/90’s as I feel the more recent images almost fade away with the colour – the black and white shows more movement which is almost more exciting than the blur of colours shown in the images from the 2000s.




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