Joshua Hammer in Medium:
“I wanted to get out of conventional photography,” he told me. “I remember I didn’t sleep too much. I was up whole nights, thinking about how to do it.” In an early experiment, Magyar built his own primitive scanner, using an East German slide projector that cast a narrow light beam. Then he constructed a platform out of a stack of Lego bricks that permitted the beam to “scan” across a subject by slowly tilting from top to bottom. A standard reflex camera captured all of the scanned lines in a single shot, re-assembling them into one image during a minute-long exposure. In effect, the scanner was slicing a minute of time into thin sections, and the camera was stacking the slices back together, creating a single image composed of all those moments. Magyar took to scanning himself, experimenting with different physical movements that created distorted final images. “When you turned around, the image that came out showed your body as a corkscrew,” he says. “It was an interesting technological experiment, but that was it. I put it away for years.”
He remained fascinated, however, by the notion of capturing different parts of a person or of people at different times, constructing a still image out of “little pieces,” he says. This matched his growing interest in what he calls “the ever-changing nature of the present,” the constant flow of life that defied easy visual representation.
In 2006, during a months-long stay in Shanghai, he had an epiphany. “I had this feeling that I would, like, scan the flow of people. I began looking for the right kind of spaces where I could find a monotonous flow.”