Glitchography: the Aesthetics of Panoramic Malfunction

“It’s the glitches and twists, I thought, that make this universe unique and compelling. Without flaws, there would be no depth, no substance.” ~A.M. Jenkins, Reposessed


These panoramic glitchographs are created entirely in-camera, some by circuit-bending the panoramic stitching software in a digital point-and-shoot camera, and some by moving a mobile phone camera in a very particular motion. Move the camera too slowly and the panorama stitching works correctly; too quickly and it doesn’t work at all. By making more than 500 of these images over the past two years I have honed a particular technique to achieve the desired effect.


These images are not manipulated in any way. They appear here exactly as they come out of the camera. The images reflect both an aesthetic of digital failure–of software glitches–as well as a snapshot of a very particular technology at a very particular point in history. The next generation of digital cameras may indeed “fix” this glitch by speeding up processing power and software stiching, rendering this technique more difficult if not impossible to achieve. Like the Super-8 and Pixelvision cameras it will become an anachronism.


The specificity of the medium of the Glitchograph is distinct to the software embedded in the camera. Unlike an aberration of the lens or a mechanical malfunction of a shutter mechanism, the beauty of digital malfunction is solely in the ones and zeros of the firmware, and reflects the fractured digital world where physical failure is replaced by virtual failure.


This will be the subject of my next book, titled “Glitchography: the Aesthetics of Panoramic Malfunction” due out in 2015.