Microsoft helped make these stunning interactive portraits of musicians that make time stand still

Today, Microsoft unveiled its “Music x Technology” website, a place where it will showcase “ideas at the intersection of music, art and technology.”

The centrepiece of the new site are three gorgeous, interactive portraits of hot musical acts Matthew Dear, Phantogram, and Neon Indian, taken and developed by New York City-based photography startup Satellite Lab. 

The idea is that as you your mouse moves over the picture, so too does the light source in each shot  — even though the subject in each photo stays completely still.

Seriously, check these out (and give it a second to load). First up is Texas-based electronica act Neon Indian:

And then DJ and pop artist Matthew Dear

And finally, the trippy electronic rock duo Phantogram

The Matthew Dear shoot was especially fun, says Satellite Lab cofounder and creative director Carlo Van de Roer: For every take, the six-man crew had to pick up the pipes and throw them back in the air.

 In fact, Van de Roer says that the whole process was fun. Satellite Labs created a light array on a rail that travels at “several thousand feet per minute.” When you turn it on, he says, “there’s this sort of clap of light.” All the while, a super-high-speed camera is taking pictures even quicker than the light can move.

Put it all together, and you have the interactive composites that you see before you, where time stands still but the light doesn’t.

From a philosophical standpoint, Van de Roer says that the appeal here is that it essentially makes you, the viewer, “complicit with the musicians” in creating an image. He says that these images act as “a conduit between musician and audience.” 

If you want to see the Satellite Labs array in action, Microsoft has a behind-the-scenes video here:


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