Jeff Frost: Circle Of Abstract Ritual

This film took 300,000 photos, riots, wildfires, paintings in abandoned houses, two years and zero graphics to make. It changed my entire life. -Jeff Frost

As I mentioned hereCircle Of Abstract Ritual by Jeff Frost is an amazing use of time-lapse photography. He’s released the video on Vimeo where it has already garnered the Staff Pick Award. Check it:

If you can’t see the video above, click here.

Circle of Abstract Ritual

Circle of Abstract Ritual

The Description:

Circle of Abstract Ritual began as an exploration of the idea that creation and destruction might be the same thing. The destruction end of that thought began in earnest when riots broke out in my neighborhood in Anaheim, California, 2012. I immediately climbed onto my landlord’s roof without asking and began recording the unfolding events. The news agencies I contacted had no idea what to do with time lapse footage of riots, which was okay with me because I had been thinking about recontextualizing news as art for some time. After that I got the bug. I chased down wildfires, walked down storm drains on the L.A. River and found abandoned houses where I could set up elaborate optical illusion paintings. The illusion part of the paintings are not an end in themselves in my work. They’re an intimation of things we can’t physically detect; a way to get an ever so slight edge on the unknowable.

Early in the process I mapped out a very interconnected narrative structure. It took a long time to fill that narrative structure in, and when I finished editing the film after seven solid weeks of being holed up in a dark room I had no idea if it was something anyone would want to watch. I almost cut the film into pieces before realizing that outside influences were pressuring me to make that decision, and that I was happy with it as it was.

It took a long time to come to the creation side of the original premise. It finally took form in a collaboration with sculptor, Steve Shigley, as well as 15 amazing volunteers who moved full sized tree sculptures 450 times over two nights to create the stop motion climax of the film (see the behind the scenes film, Story of Abstract Ritual for the tale of their monumental

The idea I wanted to explore was the creation of culture as a conscious creative act, but without the trappings of dogma from institutions or even from ways of thinking. The circle of inverted trees became a small piece of the world with personal meaning where I could mark significant events, contemplate and reflect. That circle still stands, and I still visit it regularly. Several people who have been there have told me that it’s come to mean something special for them as well. They each have their own fascinating way of interpreting the power inherent in those trees.

This film is art for the sake of art. It was made with much generosity, from the people who let me crash on their couches to the people who backed the Kickstarter to people who just wanted to pitch in: thank you. This would not have been possible without your help.

Every spare cent I make goes back into creating art. If you’d like to see me keep doing what I’m doing please consider purchasing a download or a print at, or PayPal me at

Thanks for watching!

Dynamic Perception provided motion control gear for this project. They’re a great company run by an awesome dude (hi Jay!), and their product is rugged and reliable. Check them out at

Jeff Frost: Circle Of Abstract Ritual

Posted in Timelapse, Videos

Jeff Frost: Story of Abstract Ritual — Circle of Abstract Ritual

Some time ago I came across the work of Jeff Frost — part photographer, part videographer, part alchemist. Media and metaphysics—two of my favorites. Not long ago he had a Kickstarter campaign. He had me at:

It’s art for the sake of art.

Read More»

Posted in Color Photography, Timelapse, Videos

Beauty In Simple Things, #1

I was photographing at a hospital in Laos with the team from Doctors Without Borders, and I turned around and noticed one of these sheets blowing in the wind. As usual, I had my camera preview set to black and white and the shape and motion really caught my eye. (Be careful with the volume level if you are using a laptop or tiny speakers—YouTube really beat up the audio!)

If you can’t see the video above, please click here.

I don’t know if anyone else finds it beautiful—or meditative—maybe I do as I simply have an emotional attachment to that experience in Laos. Sometimes I find it hard to separate the experience while photographing something and the actual thing being photographed. Maybe it’s the fact that I know this sheet was from the operating theater and people have lived and died on it. Maybe to most people it’s just a piece of fabric drying on a line someplace they’ll never see.

I could probably come up with a thoughtful metaphor for the sheet symbolizing how a person I knew moved gracefully on the earth and was as thin and weightless as that sheet when she left it. Maybe there is more there than meets the eye—but maybe not. Maybe one has to know the story behind the image to find meaning in it. Or better yet, can impart their story, their meaning to it.

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Posted in Beauty In Simple Things, Humanitarian Photography, Travel, Videos Tagged , |

From The Archive: Manhattan Drummer, 2000

Photo Manhattan Drummer, 2000

Manhattan Drummer, 2000


Posted in Color Photography, From The Archive

Laos Kids Are So Cool!

Laos Kids Are So Cool! This video was created by a couple of the kids at the Lone Buffalo Foundation in Phonsavan, Laos. I worked for six months there teaching a media workshop for the kids and running a successful crowd sourced fundraiser at Start Some Good. It’s really amazing what a couple of kids with an aging FlipCam, Windows MovieMaker, and a ten year old PC can do… This made me very happy!

Posted in Humanitarian Photography, Travel, Videos Tagged , |