The Art of Kinetic Photography

Here at DESIGN we often talk about all kinds of art, from print and graphic design to photography – and today I wanted to talk about something a little more experimental: kinetic photography. Kinetic photography, otherwise known as “camera tossing”, is the act of making a photograph while the camera is in motion, often when it’s (gently) thrown. The resulting photograph then involves a lot of motion blur and the fun of it is that it’s reasonably unpredictable. Unlike still photography where you have a good idea of what it is you’re taking a photo of, kinetic photography results can result in dazzling light-trails and unusual blurring.

It’s obviously quite an unusual technique and one that’s not designed to capture the scene exactly as it’s playing out. Instead, it creates works of art and often leads to fun, vibrant, playful and colourful photographs. There are particular situations where kinetic photography works best, as you’ll see from our showcase below. Camera tossing tends to work really well when there’s a dark background and bright lights – as the light then tends to swirl and create interesting and unusual patterns. Personally, I think a neon would look incredible with this technique – and you’ll soon see why.

I’ve brought together a collection of some of my favourite examples of kinetic photography and my hope is that you’ll find them interesting enough to give camera tossing a try. One word of warning, of course, is that you only need to throw your camera very gently and be careful to catch it again safely! Just to be clear, I’m not telling you to go throwing your expensive camera around – be careful, don’t drop it!

Kinetic Photography[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mnsc/430420591/ by Mattias]

Kinetic[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/archibaldjude/79500422/ by Archibald Jude]

Camera Tossing[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinet/9530443536/ by Thomas Quine]

Kinetic Light[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awfulshot/73995260/ by Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung]

Estrada[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nah_mozart/3773591776/ by Naíra Teixeira Dias]

Road Rage[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wouldpkr/110477756/ by Wouldpkr T B]

Kinetic[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rachels_photo_world/3693880786/ by Rachel Hofton]

Disneyland[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/archibaldjude/79507735/ by Archibald Jude]

Light[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awfulshot/71335372/ by Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung]

Driving[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wouldpkr/110477513/ by Wouldpkr T B]

Kinetic Photography[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39554118@N08/15591605691/ by smeech]

Green Angels[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wouldpkr/110477576/ by Wouldpkr T B]

Keukenhof Gardens[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bfsminid/13905194492/ by Sam DeLong]

Camera Spinner[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinet/110364560/ by Thomas Quine]

Them and Us[Above: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/6632244321/ by Robert Couse-Baker]

I hope this showcase of kinetic photography (or – more informally – camera tossing photography) has given you some inspiration that you might want to apply to any of your work projects, or that it’s gotten you excited about (very carefully!) trying the technique out for yourself. If you do go ahead and give kinetic photography a try, I’d love to see the results – just leave a message in the comments below!

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