Rio Asch Phoenix

Projects / Take a Second

“Take a Second” is a single-channel video with an accompanying set of silver-gelatin prints. Participants are recorded in a studio setting as they take self-portraits. When the shutter is triggered, the resulting portrait flashes on the screen for one second, juxtaposing the organic moving image of the subject with their frozen likeness.


Photographs are inherently reductionist. They capture a brief moment of a certain scene, but they do not inform their viewers of what happened before and after that moment. Social media has exploded the reach of these moments, yet they still tell an incomplete story. This project standardizes the image-making process to reveal the shifting, self-conscious processes that are behind every photograph.


My generation has grown up in a world where the ability to take a picture has never been further than one’s pocket. This ability is also a burden, because if a photograph can be taken at any moment, then you must always be photographable. Jean Paul Sartre theorized that we only become aware of our self when confronted with the gaze of the Other. Now that the gaze of the camera is ever-present, we must always be aware of our self. Our society places an enormous amount of importance on the image, on the social media profile, on the appearance. These objects are treated as the complete truth, rather than the artificial curations that they are. This project is a reflection on the reverence with which we treat the camera, the pictures it takes, and the profiles that the images populate.

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