See if you can spot what’s wrong in these photos of crowds

You can look at a Pelle Cass photo for several moments before realizing it doesn’t make sense.

See if you can spot what’s going on in this picture of people walking down the stairs:

caption
What’s wrong with this picture?
source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

Figured it out?

“Each person’s foot is hovering an inch or so above the next step,” Cass says by email. “The odds that 19 strangers would be caught at the same crucial instant in the same instantaneous photograph just before landing on the next step must be astronomically small.”

How does Cass do it? Calling himself a subversive trick photographer, the Boston artist takes hundreds of photos on a tripod in a single spot over about an hour. He then goes back to his studio and carefully selects content to include in a composite image.

“I don’t change a thing and I never move a figure or doctor a single Pixel,” he explains. “I simply decide what stays in and what’s left out.”

Photos in “Selected People” can show a perfect spectrum of colors, a collection of people raising their arms, or simply an arrangement the artist finds striking.

“I never pass up the chance to make a joke, visual or otherwise,” he adds.

Cass shared a set of photos from “Selected People,” including a few never seen before. See if you can spot what’s wrong.


“Esplanade I”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Esplanade II”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Esplanade III”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Circle Greenway”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

Need help? Cass writes: “”It’s a spacial trick. The people around the central figure holding the balloon form a rough circle that isolates him.”


“Greenway Crosswalk I”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

Cass explained this series in an interview with Vice: “The first picture looks ordinary enough: people waiting to cross the street, looking off to the left. But it turns out that it’s all men on one side, all women on the other.”


“Greenway Crosswalk II”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“[T]he second picture … is made up from the same set of exposures covering an hour or so, which shows families holding hands,” Cass says. “It’s as if they procreated in the middle of the street.”


“Chestnut Hill Reservoir”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Hawks from Under”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“High Line II”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“High Line III”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“High Line IV”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“High Line V”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Bethesda Fountain I”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Bethesda Fountain II”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Bed of Tulips, Boston Public Garden”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“On Bridge, Boston Public Garden”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Bridge, Boston Public Garden”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Trinity Church”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Faneuil Hall Crosswalk”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“From Prudential Footbridge”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Emerson Park, Halloween”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Boston Public Library I”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Boston Public Library II”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Larz Anderson Park”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Cypress Field”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Amory Park”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”

“Tree, Boston Public Garden”

source
Pelle Cass, “Selected People”