Clay Bavor


A View of The Imperial Palace in Tokyo

I’ve always loved Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 film, Powers of Ten, in which the viewpoint zooms across 40 orders of magnitude, from the scale of a person (101 meters), to the scale of the universe (1024 meters), and finally to the scale of quarks in a proton (10-16 meters).

While in college, I figured out how to replicate the orders-of-magnitude zoom effect using After Effects. (It’s a lot easier than the optical compositing and in-camera zooming that the Eames did 40 years ago!) I used the method, which I came to call “big zoom”, to create this piece for a class, but was never quite happy with the subject matter. The postcard taped to the side of Alexander Hall never really made sense.

While in Japan with my son in 2016, we visited the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Realizing that the palace wall would be the perfect subject for a big zoom, I captured a dozen photos at varying distances from the wall. It wasn’t until this year that I got around to creating the big zoom, which I did for my 2018 complicated art project.

Here it is, capturing about three orders of magnitude, and set to traditional Japanese Koto music. Best watched full-screen, and with sound.

Clay Bavor