University of Hertfordshire - School of Art and Design
Bayfordbury Lake 22/12/2011-21/06/2012
A pinhole camera made from a drink can, lined with a piece of photographic paper, and fixed to a single spot for six months is left to expose from winter solstice until summer solstice. Bayfordbury Lake 22/12/2011-21/06/2012 is a solargraph that continuously recorded the sun’s path each day as the glowing trail burned into the photosensitive paper. This image is a both a calendar and a weather map. Cloud cover causes dark gaps in the daily arcs whereas gloriously sunny weather results in continuous bright tracks. Separate moments overlap and fuse together condensing a prolonged sequence of time into one single frame. Human experience of events is limited by the moment that can be consciously detected by our eyes; our brains are incapable of following trajectories of very fast and incredibly slow moving subjects. Solargraphy manages to immobilize these extremely slow movements by bringing the momentary patterning of the sun’s trails to a standstill and makes that which is invisible to the naked eye visible. Although the image looks devoid of life this single frame contains hundreds of people passing through on their own pursuits. Photography always puts our own mortality into perspective but long exposure pinhole images show no living creatures, instead capturing only the still objects that inhabit the scene. It is a reality in which we do not take centre stage but merely play our minute part, the briefness of a human life seemingly unnoticed in the vastness of our universe and perpetuity. The combination of the human footprint and the solar trail are reminders that everything living is connected to everything else and takes us back to the beginning of the universe. After all, we are made from the same elements found in the interiors of collapsing stars.