Sun/Moon
(Trying to See through a Telescope)
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This series of photographs renders the process of an individual grappling with technology and mines the impact cameras and optics have upon an image as a means of apprehending the limits of seeing. We cannot look at the sun directly or know the details of the moon’s surface without a mediating instrument. Sun/Moon (Trying to See through a Telescope) mimics the process of looking with the naked eye and the cognitive process of understanding what one sees to question the seamlessness of vision. It registers images taken with a digital camera attached to a telescope that makes multiple images of the sun and moon within fractions of a second. All of the images are visibly impacted by the telescope and camera: distortions and reflections from the inside of the telescope appear within the images, and each attempt to capture and look at the physical object is frozen for scrutiny with a time-date stamp printed onto the image. The aggregate time sequences and grids refer to the historic photographic motion studies made for scientific purposes. Here, however, the motion recorded is not of the object but is turned back on that of the apparatus itself and the process of perception. These sequences posit understanding as a cumulative act in which the ideal of the moon and sun remains elusive. Moreover, the nature of the object—in this case the sun or moon—remains in question. What we are left with is the act of trying to see and understand.

The images within this series are made with a 35mm digital camera attached to a Dobsonian telescope. The photographic images are printed on Canson Rag Photographique paper.

 

SHARON HARPER