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Say Hello to John Whitney

February 28, 2011 by Dave

I was recently reminded of the amazing work of John Whitney, the guy a lot of people consider to be the original big daddy of computer graphics. Although Whitney is most famous for his commercial ventures – like the title sequence for Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo – the reason for this post is his experiments.

For of these experiments, in the 60’s, he used a recommissioned military computer to expose light directly on film. With a few tweaks Whitney gave it a new and altogether more appealing use. To showcase this work he created Catalogue 1961 which is shown above… well worth 7 minutes of your day.

When he did get his hands on a actual computer (originally an IBM 360) in the 70’s his ‘digital’ work, Permutations, was just as successful and equally mesmerising.

These delicious sequences seem all the more beautiful when you consider that they were created with a homemade computer, some photographic gels and a film camera… you get a pretty good idea of the dedication and craft involved. There’s a certain un-perfect beauty in these spirals and lines that isnt easily replicated using current software.

An original.

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    We started this blog in early 2011 to reflect the different events, ideas and projects that interest and influence Synth Eastwood. Please mail blog@syntheastwood.com with any content you think might interest Synth Eastwood. Everything is welcome.

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