One Month, Weather Permitting

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One Month, Weather Permitting is a series of photographs of the night sky over Banff, Alberta. Set up within the framework of an experiment, the photographs capture long-exposure star trails for two or three consecutive nights on a single sheet of film throughout the period of a month. These images map the movements of the camera apparatus with the external motions of the earth. Environmental interruptions that are part of any scientific or artistic inquiry, such as passing clouds, light pollution, and light leaks, are all recorded in the process. Motivated in part by a desire to find tactile qualities within a realm that is beyond our reach, the photographs register star trails—the most basic photographic artifacts of light and film—that carry the illusion of scratches made directly onto film. These light trails are outside our perception until the camera intervenes to capture the image. The star trails are exhibited alongside photographs of the surrounding mountains that were made on mornings when inclement weather on the previous night did not permit photography. These landscape photographs ground the work in its own environment, and refer to 19th century photographic ideas. This historic reference provides a continuum and a counterpoint to contemporary sensibilities and possibilities envisioned in the star trail images.

The images within this series are all made on 4x5 color transparency film or 4x5 black and white negative film. The original film is scanned and all prints are 30 x 40 inch Harman baryta fiber base prints.

SHARON HARPER