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That's Isaac Layman. He's asleep, perfectly still except for the rise and fall of his torso as he breathes. The camera is making a picture of him that takes four and a half minutes to complete—it's a digital process, but it mimics the earliest photographs, when people had to remain perfectly still for minutes on end so that they would be captured as if in a single, clear moment. Any movement would be tracked in the final image. Here, Layman mounts a digital back onto a traditional 4 by 5 camera, and it records one line 1 pixel wide by 8,000 pixels high and then moves to the right to record the next line. Layman is being downloaded.

If you look closely, you can see that his pockets are scallop-edged—that's not the way they really look, it's an effect from the motion of his breathing during the shoot. But that's kind of a gimme.

What's stranger is the fact that Layman himself doesn't know what was going on in the mind of his subject at the time this was shot—he was asleep. He's in the same position we are: seeing someone without really getting any information about him.

Layman's whole show of new work at Lawrimore Project—called Photographs from the Inside of a Whale, and shot entirely in his Seattle home—is an investigation into how good the information you get from a photograph really is.

Listen to him tell it.