Snapshots of Change

Demolition Time Lapse Photography


Our project begins today! Well at least it does with respect to John and I visiting classes at the middle and upper schools. For me the hours began way back in February.

For the past 10 or so weeks I have been maintaining a couple of camera rigs at the existing Governor Stirling site. These cameras are mounted high in boxes, taking a photo every minute to be used in a time lapse visualisation of the entire demolition process. Usually this kind of exercise requires reasonably expensive equipment, but me being the geeky hack-it-together guy that I am, I came up with a cheaper alternative.

At the end of last year when the school was being cleaned out, equipment being packed up into shipping containers on the two temporary sites and lots of stuff being left for rubbish, I nabbed a couple of old unused digital cameras from the photography department. The cameras were Canon Powershots, pretty decent point-and-shoot cameras when they were released five years ago. Using an open source custom camera firmware, CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit), I was able to write and load my own scripts onto the camera, enabling extra functionality over the camera’s stock software. This let me program them to take a photo every minute and adjust a few other settings with regards to light levels and focus. Combined with some new 16GB SD cards and some rechargeable deep cycle batteries, I’d built two semi-professional time lapse kits for around $100 each and a few hours of tinkering.

My estimates are that over the five month period or so that I’ll be maintaining these cameras, I’m going to take close to 300,000 photos. The photos will be batch edited and compiled into video, to be shown at the project exhibition July 6th.

Here’s a taste of what to expect (this has had minimal editing).



Author: Steve Berrick

Steve is a visual artist exploring interactive digital media technologies and video art using open source creative coding toolkits. He is a member of local art collectives ololo and G.R.L. Perth and is currently in the middle of a two year residency at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts in West Perth.


  1. Hi there, I am a former student of Govo and wondered if the video of the demolition will be able to purchase. i was unable to get to the exhibition as I am in a wheelchair and it was difficult for me to attend. Thanks Jane

  2. Hi Jane. We’ll be putting the full video as well as the other artworks up on the website soon!

  3. Steve, I will be looking forward to watching that. I was also a former student and remember the place well. Went there the other day and it’s all gone, just a flat muddy area with the construction started. Oh the memories……………

    Oh, and by the way, Jane above is my sister too!

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