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A beautiful design and concept of The Whale Hunt

In May 2007, photographer Jonathan Harris spent nine days living with a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska as they went on a whale hunt. He documented the experience with a sequence of 3,214 photographs which he posted on his new site The Whale Hunt. The photos begin with the taxi ride to Newark airport and ending with the butchering of the second whale seven days later. The photographic sequence was taken in five-minute intervals which create what he calls a constant “photographic heartbeat”. During moments of high activity the photographic heartbeat would quicken to a maximum rate of 37 pictures in five minutes.

He then took the photographic heartbeat and translated it into the visual design of the site. It is displayed like a the line you see on a heart beat monitor. During normal activity times one photograph occupies the space in the line but during more intense times there are multiple photos that occupy the space so you can see the rise and fall in activity. You can also go through photos using Mosaic or pinwheel interface which are equally unique and interesting.

Even the filter, or constraints as the site calls it, is well conceived and designed though you could miss it as you have to click on the whale line art to access it. You can choose from cast, concept (food, games, kids), context (home, ocean) and/or cadence (how many photos in a 5 minute period).

This site is a wonderful example of how concept and design can come together to create a really engaging story and interactive experience.

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