Quantum Elements Abstractions – Observer Effect

I know that this article is not going in the direction that most readers might think. To clarify, the Observer Effect in Quantum Mechanics states that just by observing something, such as when conducting an experiment, the act of observation will effect the experiment.

A classic example is trying to take the air pressure of your car tire; by connecting the pressure gauge, a small amount of air is released. Very small and for most pressure gauges that air pressure change would not be detected. But the resulting tire pressure measurement is not the exact pressure that was actually in the tire before you connected the gauge. However small that that pressure change is by the act of connecting the pressure gauge. For Quantum Mechanics when you are measuring extremely tiny things, such as protons, the process of observing (making a measurement) can have a profound effect on the experiment being conducted.

This was not the article I had planned to write, because after conducting some experiments this morning while working on my Quantum Elements abstractions, I found when I returned to the studio the Observer Effect evident in my artwork. sigh. Essentially while conducting my experiments, I changed an aspect of what I was experimenting with and that became part of my experimental results.

So there are some elements in the resulting images that are due entirely because I was trying to capture the image. Fortunately this explains some of my earlier experiments and why certain effects were occurring, but it did not dawn on me that this might be caused by the Observer Effect. Lessons learned.

Btw, sometimes the Observer Effects of Quantum is confused and mistaken for the Heisenberg Principal, aka the Uncertainty Principal, that you can know accurately only one variable for certain pairs of physical qualities. Such as either the proton’s speed or the proton’s location. Just not both.

So now that I know the Observer Effect is an attribute that I need to take into account in my next set of experiments for this series, I need to figure out how I might be able to minimize it’s effect. OR how I can use this Effect to my advantage and incorporate it into my artwork. Cool!

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving Holiday


Featured artwork, above; LSTa9611 (Quantum Elements) copyright 2020 Douglas Stockdale


Exhibition, Portfolio Reviews & Workshops

Update: February 20th – March 20th 2021; Photographs’s Eye gallery, Escondido, CA, a solo exhibition of my Memory Pods series (lens-based photography). Exhibition reception February 20th, 3-7pm.

January 21 – 24th, 2021; Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP), EXPOSURE WEEKEND, a series of virtual portfolio reviews, and I will be on the team of available portfolio reviewers available that weekend. Sign-ups start December 1st. More information here.

March 2021; Developing Your Creative Photo Book, a workshop that I am leading again in collaboration with Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP). (update) March 13 – 14th, and 20-21st from 9am – noon PST. Four days, two consecutive weekends, a virtual workshop on Zoom, with time between sessions to develop your book dummy.


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