Good Luck with the Sun
The word “luck” is often used when talking about sunny days or meteorological conditions. No matter where one is located geographically, climate is critical to survival, and every day, we are at the mercy of what the weather delivers. Luck is also a major factor in my project, “Good Luck with the Sun”, where trial and error, chance, and imperfection become part of my photographic experiments. In this work, I approach the sun as both my subject and creative tool to explore our dual relationship with our greatest energy source – essential for life on this planet but also a potential threat of destruction. From solar energy to global warming, my inquiry presents a multifaceted dialogue, posing questions about how we negotiate our curiosity, need, and fear of nature’s primary resource.
The project is a culmination of several mini-series, working in conversation with each other, where one exploration may lead to another or become raw material for new creative strategies. Each of these parts is centered around a different theme and photographic approach and designed to be exhibited independently or as part of the collective whole. For example, “Sun Notations” is a project that captures the pathway of the sun rising and setting over time. Using pinhole cameras (soda cans, cookie tins, and other small containers), my exposures last from one day up to two years. These cameras, which often contain several pinholes, are rotated periodically, so the rhythm of the sun’s movement becomes a drawing process or mark-making system, like the routine of crossing days off a calendar. Light leaks, dirt, dust, fingerprints, even rips in the paper, become part of the visual alchemy, and serve as metaphors for the delicate balance we share with the physical world. Titles for the images, such as “Since you’ve been gone” and “70 days after the election”, frame exposures around personal and collective experience, giving the work a diaristic context, connecting personal and collective experience with cosmic cycles.
Other experimentation involves leaving found photographs, slides, and home movie footage in the direct sun for a period of time. These become faded by the UV light and burned or damaged by the intense heat. The title “Burn and Fade” references both the process and the words we use to describe memories and the passage of time. Another project utilizes cell phone photography as a way to document busy commuter life – whether witnessing an astonishing sunset in the midst of an afternoon traffic jam or being blinded by sun glare on a morning drive to work.
Because we live in a time where there is tremendous focus on the physical and cultural borders that separate us, I believe it is helpful to shift our attention to that which connects us as a human race. We all share the same star at the center of our solar system – its light and heat is our life force. In this body of work, time and space expand as the sun becomes a thread that ties our past to our present, reminding us of our shared place in the larger universe.