Portraits of British Prime Ministers alone excite very few, but who can look away from the intriguing monster that is Margaret Thatcher, John Major and others all merged? And why explain surfing technique with uninspiring diagrams and even duller words, when you can capture it in a composite photo (shown)?
These are taken from PhotoViz - a book that uses a sprinkle of data, a dab of inspiration from infographics and a hell of a lot of beautiful photography to visualise data in an unfailingly, instantly engaging way.
Editor of this data-driven, clever vision is graphic designer Nicholas Felton, aka Feltron. If you know Nicholas’ work, this won’t come as a surprise; his Personal Annual Reports – which are much more interesting than they sound – sparked a flurry of interest in personal data visualisation of which Nicholas’ painstakingly produced infographics remain at the forefront.
Image: Come Full Circle by Agustin Munoz, who captured the event in a series of quick shots before compositing them in a single frame. All images from PhotoViz, copyright Gestalten 2016.
In a world increasingly drowning in data (or, at least, that’s what it feels like), it’s refreshing to find information – which could be told in numbers or a lengthy article - presented with immediacy and clout.
From ageing over one lifetime to the look of landmarks over the course of a day, Photoviz is a book of many stories, each told in a moment. Some are beautiful, some are strange and some are downright freaky. But all make clearer this data-heavy, complex world a little easier to understand.
Image: Visualisation of the Flight Paths of Birds by Dennis Hlynsky, who begins with videos of birds and then digitally traces the paths they follow.
Of all Nicholas' work, you're probably most familiar with the ubiquitous Facebook timeline, for which he was a lead designer.
Image: Vertical Churches by Richard Silver. To capture the full scope of a church's ceiling, Richard took a panorama starting from the middle of the aisle, to the altar, across the ceiling, and back down to the entrance.
The mesh of classic photography with the modern obsession (and joy) of visualising data allows for more detail than photojournalism traditionally would, but still boasts that real, raw feel.
Image: Washed up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape by Alejandro Duran in a project that captures pollution washing ashore in Sian Ka'an, Mexico, a federal nature reserve. Alejandro sorted waste by colour and dramatised the invasion of pollution on the natural world, in a carefully composed storytelling device.
Image: What Was There, and What Was Not by Pelle Cass. In a series of composite photographs, Pelle changed nothing, only selected and composited certain details.
Image: Portraits of Power by Alejandro Almaraz who layered between four and forty portraits of successive heads of state in countries and periods.
Image: Carnival by Roger Vail, who took long exposure photos of carnival rides.
Image: Babel Tales by Peter Funch, who took unstaged photos at the same location, before compositing them - editing out everything but one detail from the surroundings.
Image: Tire Swing 5 & Harris Playground by Kevin L. Ferguson. The Harris shutter - which is both a device and technique (now digital) - is a way to make three exposures of a single frame of film, one for each primary colour. Anything in motion will stand out from the surroundings in red, green and blue images.
Image: Every thing we touch by Paula Zuccotti, who photographed collections of all the things people touched over 24 hours.
Image: Once Salone: Freetown's Then and Now by Babak Fakhamzadeh. Old postcards from colonial post-era Freetown, Sierra Leone, were juxtaposed with photos of the same locations taken in the present day.
Image: Time is a Dimension by Fong Qi Wei, which is a collage of 36 photos taken before, during and after sunset.
Image: Shadow Boxing the World by Jenny Odell
Image: When I Grow Up by Bobby Neel Adams. The two photos are scaled and printed, then torn and reassembled.
Cover image: Wake Turbulence by Mike Kelley, which depicts nearly a day's worth of aircraft movements sourced from nearly 400 images of LAX. By compositing rather than using long exposure, the photographer ensured that each event was captured distinctly.