Nicholas Shectman

Nicholas Shectman

An Exploration of Time

Photography can make 1/250 of a second last forever, or distill an eternity down to a single moment. I present here a selection of work that explores the progression of time, juxtaposing moments separated by milliseconds or centuries and illuminating processes ranging from industrialization and gentrification to the speed of sound and human reaction time.

Kearney, 10:07 PM

8x12 matted to 14x18 $90
The first piece I had in a juried show, this was taken on an early cell phone camera, massively underexposed even on the longest exposure the camera could take. The smoke shadows from five previous fireworks are barely visible as the wind blows them from right to left.

After Hours

8x10 matted to 11x14 $90
This art museum keeps bankers' hours and has already shut for the day before the lively night life on the street outside has even begun.

Home Run Number Three

8x12 matted to 14x18 $120
At the instant this shot was taken, the sound from the crack of the bat had not yet reached the spectators in the background, most of whom don't yet know that Mookie Betts has hit his third home run in the game. This exposure is only 1/4000 second which is as fast as my camera will go. Even so it does not quite stop the ball.

Alternating Current

8x12 matted to 14x18 $120
These overhead shaft motors in the workshop of Thomas Edison both powered and were powered by the 60Hz revolution of Tesla and Westinghouse. AC motors like these are incredibly durable. These two bear witness to the transformation of their site from active industry to historical museum.

Two Views of Philadelphia

6x10 (x2) matted to 16x20 $120
These two images are separated by months, not just hours. I love how much more visible Broad St is in the nighttime version of the image.

Two Views of Manhattan

6x10 (x2) matted to 16x20 $120
These two shots were taken from almost exactly the same spot in the air. Achieving this required timing the shot to within less than a second as I flew past at 600 miles an hour in a commercial airliner.

The Exact Moment of Gentrification

11x14 matted to 16x20 $120
A woolen mill in Minneapolis is being converted to condos, and its sign repurposed from advertisement to lawn-ornament. New and old construction are juxtaposed in nearby buildings as well as in the fetishization of old brick by new money.


8x10 matted to 11x14 $90
How and when was this house in Amish country abandoned? I wonder what its gardens must have looked like and how long it took to turn into this lush overgrowth.


8x10 matted to 14x18 $90
Near Mankato, old combine harvesters slowly rust away while cattle graze on land they once roamed.

Shadows of History (Eastham Fire & Rescue)

8x10 matted to 11x14 $90
The wind powered gristmill whose shadow appears in this shot was already a 125-year-old antique when it was moved to this, its fourth and final location in 1808. It operated for only 62 more years before the railroad came, putting it out of business but at the same time creating the tourist trade that motivates the loving maintenance it gets to this day. It still works. Who knows where it might have moved to if it were still a useful tool and not part of Cape Cod's mythologized past?


8x12 matted to 14x18 $120
This mill lies forgotten under the I-95 overpass, only about half a mile from downtown New London, Connecticut, biding its time until the anti-urban policies of the late twentieth century fade away.

Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

8x8 matted to 12x12
Three of these images were taken, from a boat, on the same day in September 2015, the turning of the seasons. Varying techniques, exposure times, and a water reflection result in very different shots of similar material, evoking time that has not yet passed.


8x8 matted to 12x12 $90
This clock no longer tells travelers how much time they have to catch their trains and instead marks time in a museum, which like most museums is dedicated to stopping it.


8x10 matted to 11x14 $90
Sariel's face is illuminated at the beginning and end of a half-second revolution of her fire poi, creating sharp images of concentration and joy respectively in this single exposure.

Diamond Ring

8x8 matted to 12x12 $90
This optical effect at the start or end of a solar eclipse lasts for only a second or so. It's a little easier and a lot safer to catch the one at the end of the eclipse as I've done here.

Usdi Nps

8x10 matted to 11x14 $90
Stewart Brand wrote that "site is eternal" and surveyors strive to make it so. In fact boundaries change, information is lost, and low-lying land like this, only extant since the last ice age, is threatened by the rising seas. This survey marker shows its age in tarnish but also in increasing irrelevance as the last few inholdings are gradually acquired by the National Park Service, which can outwait even multigenerational private claims to the land.


6x29 matted to 9x33 $150
Bicycling from Clermont-Ferrand to Paris in 2017, I crossed the Loire on this 13th century bridge. I took 18 images over the course of about a minute to assemble this panorama. Evening appears to have fallen more deeply on the left side of the image, and those images are in fact later in the progression, but the wide shots I have suggest that most of the effect is the brighter skies and longer sightlines on the right.


8x10 matted to 14x18 $90
The Eiffel Tower has a searchlight at the top that makes a 360 degree sweep every ten seconds. This composite image is made up of short exposures over the course of two seconds as the beam swept past the Pompidou.


8x12 matted to 14x18 $120
This five second bulb exposure also captures the time shadow of previous fireworks as smoke being blown from right to left. Hundreds of years ago the area of this shot was clearcut to build ships like the one this firework resembles, and is now reforested in second growth wood that seems ancient to our momentary gaze.

Shipping Details

All pieces are framed.

Priority Mail shipping is $20 for pieces matted to 11x14 or 12x12, $25 for pieces matted to 9x33 or 14x18, and $30 for pieces matted to 16x20.

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