hiatus

I am sorry to report that the ‘journey of a photograph’ has endured an unscheduled and lengthy delay under my stewardship. It is time to make amends.

After waiting for over a year for the project to find its way to my corner of the world, a large and clearly well-travelled package arrived at the end of April 2015 and as I excitedly examined its contents I wondered at the vignettes of life this ‘thing’ had witnessed on its journey and the dreams, stories and creative responses it had inspired. I drank it in over several days, picking amongst the imagery and ephemera that it had accumulated, like barnacles on the bottom of ship, adding weight and mass, altering the dynamics of the original form.

It is not a pretty package; it wears its travels wearily and honestly, revealing fragments of the journey as it is opened, and proceeds to spill out its contents unceremoniously, like the entrails of an unceremonious disemboweling. The analogy continues, despite its unpleasantness, as it is then impossible to avoid looking closer at the entrails and wonder at their meaning. It may not be pretty, but it is truly fascinating.

A week or so later in early May my father was diagnosed with cancer. Everything stopped. My ability to wonder ceased.

He passed away within the month. Too late to do anything about the cancers that had been stealthily occupying new territories over the years, we used the last of our time to say the things we now describe as our ‘goodbyes’ and reminisced across history. For this I feel incredibly lucky; many do not get this chance or have not got the words to say their piece.

The package sat aside my desk during the months that followed. I thought little, if anything about it, except maybe a little guilt. I struggled to resume working on personal projects and did nothing for a long time. The package continued to sit aside my desk accusingly.

When I first examined the contents of the package back in April, I had toyed with the idea of making something exquisite – a real feast for the eyes that would rest amongst the photos, letters, postcards and assorted ephemera – something that didn’t follow anything else and hopefully leave others to wonder. I also considered making copies of everything and binding them together in a book. I thought of a few things I might do, all of which died with my father.

The package has since taken on a new significance for me. It no longer represents an opportunity for a creative response or engaging visual addition. It has taken a long time for me to put this into words that come anywhere close to conveying my thoughts. What you are reading right now is the third draft of the fourth attempt. These previous attempts were either ‘too much of’ or ‘not enough of’ something or other, and found their way into the ever growing pile of digitally scrunched up documents that was building up around the trashcan icon on my screen.

I have taken a very different approach to this journey of a photograph. I have decided share a little of my emotions and explain why the project has stalled under my stewardship. I have also added a small picture of my father to the package in order to let him see a little more of the world. All things pass. Pass it on.

SKINNER (2)

Christopher Skinner, Norfolk UK

January 2016

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Zooming In and Zooming Out

Modified_Photograph

Nerve impulses running down the spinal cord, triggering muscle cells – mitochondria pumping protons and electrons to provide the energy to move a muscle. The muscle contracts and the fingertip touches the release button, triggering a cascade of electronic signals, calculations, movements of electromechanical parts, chemical reactions inside a battery, a shutter opening, photons flashing inside and triggering chemical changes in the particles of the film. A myriad of smallest and shortest events and processes combine to produce that short “click” that indicates that a picture has been taken. The photographer looks away and her mind and eye turn on something else.

A short moment in her life. The moment she pressed the trigger of her camera. Clouds, trees or bushes, houses, the horizon, the sun. Motion blur. Lens Flair.

The photograph was shot while in motion, maybe from a train or a car. The hexagonal spots of lens flair are reflexes of the sun in the camera’s lenses, shaped by the partially closed aperture. There are smaller, more fuzzy hexagonal flare spots, maybe the result of droplets or dirt on the window or on the lens.

The hexagons, those artifacts of the aperture and of the optics of the lenses, have been colored in red and yellow during the photographs most recent stop. An artificial element has been added, but the paint has formed some random structures, visible through a magnifying glass, formed by surface tension and capillary action. Are these natural or artificial? The categories of natural and artificial are rather questionable, but these hexagons, maybe the most artificial part of the image, are showing clearly that the picture is not an objective image of the world out there but the result of a process – it is a trace of a moment, bringing together many factors, including the granularity of the film, the focus, the direction the camera was pointing, the moment it was triggered, the motion, the skill and experience of the photographer, as well as the quality of the camera’s optical system, based on the work of generations of photographers, workers, engineers, physicists and mathematicians.

But the moment that was captured in this picture has a history tracing back a far longer path in time. The sun, providing the light, coalesced out of a cloud of gas and dust billions of years ago, a cloud that originated in a supernova explosion of a previous star. The horizon is there because we are on the surface of a planet, the result of gravity acting on that primordial cloud. The clouds, the field, the tees, the houses, the street or railway, each of these are the products of a history containing plate tectonics, storms and sunshine, evolution of life, the history of humankind, technology. There is the biography of the photographer.

Transferred onto a black and white print from its original color slide, I hold the photograph in my hand now. It must have been bent somewhere on its trip, there is a slight bend just below the horizon. There are small specks of some dirt near the upper left corner of the white frame. First signs of aging, of being changed in history, a first little bit of a patina. It is not just an arbitrary copy of that original slide again, but it has started to acquire traces of its own history. Three of the hexagons have been painted. From a copy, produced in an electronic or photographic process of reproduction, it has been turned into an original.

There are probably fingerprints on the picture, invisible to the unaided eye. The paper has more properties than we know of, a microscope would reveal a tangle of fibers that once formed part of tree trunks in some forest. There might still be fragments of the DNA of those trees in it, of the DNA of some microbes or insects or that of a worker in the paper mill. There might be traces of the DNA of those who have been holding it. Maybe there are microscopic traces of dust and soot and cigarette smoke and soil and bacteria, from the streets of London or Vietnam or South Africa. But we are not going to slice it up and put it under a microscope. I am looking at it through an amplifying glass, I have scanned it and I can zoom in on screen, but as the accessible object I see, it exists on this human scale, a scale defined by our hands and eyes.

Between the scale of the very small and very short and the scale of the solar system that measures its age in terms of billions of years, there is this scale of the human being, reaching from the short moment of taking a single photograph to the biographies of several generations. So I am zooming in on that human scale now. The journey of the photograph is limited to this human world. It is traveling over the surface of earth, perhaps moving through a tunnel or several kilometers up in a plain, but limited to this thin sphere near earth’s surface. The time of the journey can be measured in days, weeks, months or years. It stays with me for a couple of weeks. In a few days or weeks, I am going to send it to somebody else.

The photograph has been put into an envelope, together with its fellow travelers added at several places. There are photographs and prints, small copies of maps, tickets for a ferry, a train, a museum, as well as some other objects. All of these have some meaning for the people who put them into this collection, or they document events that happened during the journey.

The envelope has been handed over in a post office or dumped into a post box, it has been sorted from one mail bag into another, gone from hand to hand, from conveyor to hand and back into mail bags, it has been sorted by machine and by eye, it went through the hands of many people. It has been put into air freight containers or gone by ship. It has travelled by truck or by bike. Each person in the mail system only knows the next station; nobody knows how the whole system works, with all of its details. The envelope carries some traces of the history it has gone through. Most of the detail of this history, however, is already forgotten. The mail system does not record what is happening inside it. That information is lost, dispersed in some heat radiation racing away from us into outer space. The envelope was thrown behind the horizon of that system in Canada and emerged at my doorstep several days later.

*

I have put the photograph into a frame, behind glass. The small painting that normally resides in this frame had to make room for it for a couple of days. A small watercolor painting, painted in 1925 by my grandfather Rolf Keller, showing the village of Ebersdorf where his mother was living. He painted it in the expressionist style of the time.

Rolf_Keller_Ebersdorf

The expressionist style of the painting also does not provide an image of the painted object as it is, but a subjective view of it, as well as a view that has gone through the filters of a style that emerged out of the material and psychological destruction of World War I. The painting as well, is a trace of a moment in history.

The hook on the wall where the photograph is now hanging in my living room, as a guest in that frame, is normally occupied by a small triptych by Anita de Soto, painted on playing cards. I got it from her when she was visiting here from New Zealand some time ago. The back side reads “Hopeless cards. Made in Leipzig. Oil on paper 2010.” I know there are more of these. My sister has such a triptych as well. I don’t know if Anita turned a whole deck of cards into such paintings. They look like motion-blurred or stormy, very unlike the “clear” surrealist style of her large paintings.

Hopeless cards

So these are the paintings that now play host to the photograph on this stop, one providing a frame, the other one a hook on the wall.

*

The photograph is the record of a short moment in Emily’s life. Many of the contributions to this project, both on the blog and in the envelope, have some biographical aspect, providing a short view into the lives of the people taking part, providing insight into the projects they are working on, or glimpses of the lives of some other people, like that Nepalese boy with the paper plane, for example. Like individual fibers in a thread of wool, coming perhaps from different sheep but spun together into one yarn, fragments of different stories are combined here. The photograph acts as the condensation nucleus upon which these texts and photographs and paintings, these stories and thoughts, these interpretations and bits of imparted meaning, these snippets of different biographies, are accreting.

I am also going to add some snippets from a project I am currently working on, but I am neither a photographer nor a painter. I am currently working on a biographical project, transcribing letters written by my grandparents Grete and Rolf Keller. Below, I am giving some examples from those letters, translated into English below. This project is both part of my current studies of history and philosophy, as well as part of a larger project of biographical work within my family.

By a range of historical accidents, a lot of biographical material, like letters, diaries, photographs and documents, has been preserved in my family. My mother, initially assisted by my late father, has transcribed countless letters and other documents, starting with material going back several generations before her own, and she is still continuing this work.

The letters I am currently working on are still uncharted territory. Each letter of my grandparrents, each sketch or drawing, each painting my grandfather left only provides a short glimpse into his life. Taken together, an overall picture is beginning to emerge from these fragments. To what extent is this overall picture a representation of the reality that existed, the reality experience by my grandparents and the people around them back in the 1950s and 1960s? To what extend is it a construction, showing shapes that are actually artifacts, just like those lens flare hexagons are artifacts of the imaging process, not real objects out there at the time when that photograph was taken? Each letter transcribed provides new information. The image is revised and shifting, and on the other hand it is shining new light on details that had been obscure on first reading. The understanding deepens by going through this hermeneutic circle. Additional information, from external sources as well as from my mother’s memory, is adding further detail. It is like zooming in and zooming out.

One pervasive topic in the letter is mail. Parcels where sent both ways and their contents listed, letters and parcels where announced, their arrival confirmed. Photographs were also sent, as exemplified by the first citation below, and sometimes hand-drawn sketches.

Another Main topic is travel. The letters set in in 1956, when my father, accompanied by a friend of the family who had visited them, left Karl-Marx-Stadt (now again called Chemnitz) and went to Hamburg in the western part of Germany, crossing the border between east and west that was still open at the time. So the fact of separation into two different cities is what triggers the letters. The very first letter, from July 16th, 1956, picks the topic of travel out as its first main theme. In thinking about his son’s trip to the city of Hamburg, where Rolf Keller had been living before, his thoughts went back to the time when he himself arrived in that city, many years earlier, thus providing a little piece of biographical information that would have been lost otherwise. We read:

“…It has become rather quiet in our place, a condition we will have to get used to bit by bit. In bed, we were always looking at the clock: now they are in Leipzig – now in Bitterfeld. Mother could not sleep at all and played solitaire in the night. Quarter to nine, now they’ll be there shortly.

This brought the time of 1919 back to my mind, when I left on one Saturday to start my job with RAG at Rathausmarkt on Monday. In those days, I lived in Hamburg 24, Schröderstr. 24, with one Mrs. Kamnitzer. The street does not exist anymore, the number 24 has remained.

I am adding a few photographs which I am sure you would like to have. …”

That the street no longer exists is a reference World War II, when Hamburg, like many other cities, was heavily bombed. The number 24 refers to Rolf Keller’s logo, a stylized 24 that he designed when he started his own business in 1924. You can see it on the painting of Ebersdorf above. The remembered biography is a selected and reformed version of reality, and in that process, meaning can be added, as is exemplified with the number 24 here.

The content of most of the letters, however, refers to the time when they were written. The letters provide a view into life in the GDR in the 1950s and 1960s, from the unique point of view of a self-employed graphic artist. Let me give you one more example, describing my grandfather’s work at the Leipzig industrial fair of 1958, where he was preparing paintings of machines, to be used in leaflets or brochures. The letter, to his son, is dated March 10th, 1958 (“Lederbogen” was a publisher Rolf Keller was occasionally working for, Defa was a state-owned film producer, HO was a national retail chain):

“…I wanted to get brochures or technical literature for you in Leipzig, but due to lack of time, I could not get anything appropriate. Wanted to write to you from Leipzig, but! On Friday, Feb. 28th early morning I drove with the Lederbogen-people. On Friday, Saturday and early Sunday we designed the stand. On Monday [I went] to the technical fair where delivered some work to Sch. and he told me I should make suggestions for some watercolors. So from 9 in the morning to half past 5 in the evening I was sketching 8 machines, in the middle of the most active hustle and bustle of the fair. Often there was only one point of view for a machine or an assembly line and in the case of two machines, that point was in the middle of the stream of fairgoers who nearly without exceptions occluded the object of interest and opened up the view on what had to be drawn only for moments. Investing all my energy, at two o’clock I had sketched 5 machines, then hunger made itself felt. But the office where my briefcase was standing was locked because of a conference of the postal service. I had to go to an HO food booth to devour the national dish: bratwurst with bread roll. Then I was searching for a place to sit in order to rest for a quarter of an hour because the drawing within the crowd, the stupid comments when they were spotting the “painter”, the noise and the standing which I am not used to and being bumped into had made me tired. The only free arm chair I could find belonged to the institute for technology and as soon as I was stretching my tired bones in the chair, I was bombarded with new questions, technical ones this time, because sitting there with my white lab coat, people thought I was one of the specialist engineers where one could get technical information. So up again. I spotted the cinema and quickly entered. With empty gaze, I was watching a film about plastic materials. Unfortunately, the film about “buffing” was only been shown in the evening. I would have been interested in that one. With new energy I continued making sketches, so that in the evening I could present 8 sketches to Mr. Sch. of which 6 were approved to be implemented as watercolors. Then I painted on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the night. Interesting; photographers, pressmen, radio reporters, Defa and TV where at work. My work went on well so that Tuesday night from 5 PM to 6 AM I finished 3 watercolors. Wednesday I achieved only 2, and Thursday I was finished already half past 12 in the night with all 6. …”

*

So this is the kind of material among which the photograph is spending its time here, both as a material object ant as a mental object in my mind. Snipets of biography being added to this thread.

I will soon be packing the photograph back into the envelope. I am going to add a copy of a sketch from one of the letters, a sketch showing some tropical plants, a hobby of Rolf Keller and another topic showing up in the letters a lot. Maybe I am going to use a new, larger envelope and put the old one inside. The old envelope has gathered lots of inscriptions, stickers, adhesive tape, an object that has recorded some part of the trip of the photograph, providing traces of its own “biography”; but soon it will no longer be suited for the mail system. Like a molting caterpillar, the picture is getting out of its old skin and getting a new one, but it will take the old one along, an object that is becoming part of this slowly growing collective work, or rather project, of art, history, biography, philosophy or whatever it might be and become. What it will become, I don’t know. The past is known only in fragments and the future is open.

From Banff National Park, Canada

I first learned of the Journey of a Photograph project from my dear friend the artist, Summer Lee. I knew little of the project, only that it was a photograph traveling around the world to various artists who would then use the photo to inspire their own work in some way. I didn’t read the blog or other’s interpretations or actions with the photograph prior to receiving the package. Which also means I didn’t read Emily’s first post with the image showing the photograph itself. On some level this was intentional, a method to respond first to the materiality of the photo rather than the aura created by its journey. I was intrigued by Emily’s concept and its potential because of the physicality of the project; I would receive something in the mail that many other people have touched, lived with, or altered in their own specific environment and I would then become part of that story.

The package arrives to me amidst my own nomadic two years. I left a job in Montreal in December 2013 and have been traveling to various artist residency programs since that time. The photograph arrived in Massachusetts for the holidays to commence the brief overlap of our journeys. My idea was for the photo to accompany me to my next artist residency located in Banff, Alberta where I would then respond with my own contribution. The day came when the packaged photo and I took a plane together from Boston via Minneapolis, finally landing in Calgary. We had an easy flight and after a night at the airport hotel, took off on a bus to the Banff National Park, home to the artist residency program. On my second day at The Banff Centre, I opened the package and posted the contents to my studio wall. I had only expected one photo, but enclosed were ferry tickets, museum passes, maps, words, and other photos. I was reluctant to reference the blog so early in the process, but how was I to decipher which photograph was “the” photograph?

The contents of the package and the photo itself all hang above my studio desk where I have now been for nearly two weeks. My window overlooks snowy mountains, treetops, and the majestic castle-like structure alone on the a mountain known as the Banff Springs Hotel. After a few days of contemplating these artifacts and potential five photos that could be “the” photo, I began reading the blog. I became enthralled with the lives of the people who previously were in possession of the photo and the life of the photo itself. I wondered about Laura and her health, I thought about Summer at the moment when the photo entered her life knowing how much has changed since then. I considered Emily’s interlude reunion with the photograph one year ago. I also wonder about the photo itself. Does it ever, like I do, get a little tired of always being on an adventure? Does it long for a singular space to rest, knowing full well that its destiny is to travel?

When I first held the photograph (yes, “the” intended photograph), I was reminded of the Marfa Lights. A phenomenon in Western Texas where sphere-shaped lights colored red, orange, yellow, and white hover and dart on the horizon line of the desert sky. The lights are thought to be either paranormal activity or reflections from a distant highway. Having viewed them first hand while spending one summer in Marfa, I can’t be sure what they are. But I like the mystery and the colors superimposed over the landscape and the continued curiosity they bring. As I look at the photograph and read about its travels, I note that many people are careful with the object itself. Yes, of course, on some level there is a responsibility to not be the person who ruins the photo or the journey. But in thinking about collaborative art, I am surprised no one has yet to intervene on the actual photograph. Many have scanned the image and then altered it or used its likeness in other mediums. But what about the materiality? I feel the inclination to respond to the object, on the object. To alter it in some way, a way that could risk everything. An intervention adding to the layers of meaning directly to the immediacy of the photo. After two years of traveling, would the photograph like a new hairstyle? (even just a trim?) Transformation can be devastating, but it can also make way for a rebirth.

I have decided to intervene on the photograph. But I will not show the image here. It will be a mystery for the next recipient of the package. So even if they are devoted to the blog and know the image by heart, it will not be what they are expecting.

As I send the photo on its way, I am including a small orange flag. The flag references my last project in which I spent six months living and developing an educational project on Fogo Island in Newfoundland, Canada. In short, not too long ago, flags were placed atop houses that were to be relocated or “launched” to another community. The flag indicated to neighbors that help was needed to get the house on its way, so community members would arrived at the sight of the flag and depending on the structure, the house would travel to its new home either by land, sea, or ice. So I add the little orange flag as a small prayer…let helpful neighbors get you to your next home little photo!

Thank you Emily for allowing me to join this journey and take a moment within my practice to consider mystery, transformation, and the power of one photo to creatively influence people around the world.

Nicole Lattuca

 

IMG_0121 IMG_0170 IMG_0173

Press On


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tick – tock – tick – tock
step – step – step

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I loved the idea of this project from the beginning, over a year ago now. It set a seed, inspired me to look towards from a difficult time, into the future, a place I hoped to reach.

Sometimes you don’t know why you do, you don’t even know if you can, you just know you have to. You press faith into faith, and hope the meaning will come clear. You keep laying each mark, and trying to build. Through a series of connections, you begin to make up a whole. Throwing stars at the moon, hoping to leave a pattern.

This project itself is a journey of many parts, gaining more resonance and a sense of itself as it moves on. Each bone in the spine is essential. I love to think of how long it might stretch.

This small composition forms part of what I hope to be a larger piece of music, this is a sketch of something slowly evolving, but somehow as it has grown with me since the seed of Emily’s project began, when I first saw the photograph and started to sing, it seemed perfect to post the first part of its journey here.

I’ll now send off the package, with a note to join the others, on to its next. A small part of me travels too..

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Press with Faith envelope 1_72

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window_72

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This package was such fun to open. Thankyou Emily!

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Cath Rennie 2014. 

Designated

jop final version for the time being

 

I followed this photograph’s journey for a while. I lost the track of it round about after summermlee posted the work that he, and other collaborators, made based on this photograph. Recently Emily Hughes posted a request for another address for a memory to be made. She felt it wasn’t time for its journey to end. Bravely, I put myself forward as a possible next participant. I don’t like journeys to end merely because there’s nowhere else to go.

In reading others’ entries I was struck by how people must’ve changed within themselves within this year (this month is a year since the journey started) it took for this photograph to travel this world.

Within myself, a year ago, I was too shy, had too little self confidence. I’ve since taken part in other collaborations which gave me the faith (thanks summermlee) in my work to forward my address so the next memory could be made based on this photograph.

One is on a journey whether one stays put or not. I’ve had times when a walk to the kitchen from my bedroom was epic. I traversed some of the mountain (a real one) on which I stay in the meantime. Work processes, spiritual growth, reaching for maturity of mind, health, finding peace, (at some cost); all are, were, will be journeys.

The image is ephemeral, transient, non-specific, unfixed in any given time or space. This journey of this photograph can be traced and is being accumulated into one specific place. One can’t help but wonder what Emily’s motive is for facilitating this? Searching to See, probably.

This may sound strange, even fickle, but ideas are a dime a dozen sometimes. I had, in fact, set aside some prints, images scanned in, photos of my own, photos of the parcel and its contents, other ephemera, to use. Which I then didn’t use. A spontaneous reaction to a post by Nannus on Asifoscope found me flying into the studio, the place that other people would call a lounge, and I started the work with whatever I could lay my hands on. So the process the artwork went through, became the journey. I recorded various stages of the work process and posted this on my site. It seems collaborating in, discussing, blogging about art is good for me at present.

Rudolf Arnheim, in Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, said: Every memory has an address. I have the book next to me as I write. Couldn’t find the entry in order to give a chapter and page number. It may very well fall under the chapter called Light. Something cryptic, as is the photograph: this is ironic. With respect to the past.

journeyings-10 emily hughes collaboration

destination

please let me know if you are interested in becoming a contributor to the journey!

searchingtosee

travel on diptych3

The journey of a photograph is looking for new participants. It has been such a creative and inspiring journey, but it’s not ready to end yet. Currently the photograph resides in New Zealand, and although I’m sure it’s enjoying it’s little sojourn there by the beach with Maureen of  kiwissoar (and how envious I am of it), it needs to move on to new destinations. If you are an artist, writer, photographer, or any other type of uncategorisable creative being (aren’t they the best types?) and think you might have something to add to the journey, please contact me , or sign up via the blog. Contributions have been varied and unique, each and every one,  from solargraphs to mosaics, and poetry: check out the blog to see where the photograph has been and what it has inspired thus far. I can promise your practice and even your…

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De revolutionibus

Last February 15th was the 450 aniversary of the bird of Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642). As everbody knows Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philospher. In other words, he was a Renaissance scientist who played a major role in the scientific revolution. Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime; he was investigated by the Roman Inquisition, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism.

Nicolaus Copernicus (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was also a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated Heliocentrism, a scientific model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. The publication of Copernicus’ book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, is considered a major event in the history of science. It began the “Copernican Revolution” that resolved the issue of planetary retrograde motion by arguing that such motion was only perceived and apparent, rather than real…

The solar system has the Sun in its center with all the planets spining in eliptical orbits around it. The Earth’s orbit is the motion of the Earth around the Sun, from an average distance of 149.59787 million kilometers away. A complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun occurs every 365.2563666 mean solar days (1 sidereal year). This motion gives an apparent movement of the Sun with respect to the stars at a rate of about 1°/day eastward, as seen from Earth. On average it takes 24 hours—a solar day—for Earth to complete a full rotation about its axis relative to the Sun so that the Sun returns to the meridian. The orbital speed of the Earth around the Sun averages about 30 km/s (108,000 km/h). Assuming Earth’s orbit around the sun to be circular, the “journey” of the Earth in one year is roughly 940 million kilometers (585 million miles).

Some years ago I read the book “The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe.” by Arthur Koestler, an interesting informative approach to the history of Astronomy. In the book, the author stated that the highly technical “De Revolutionibus” was ignored by 16th-century readers.

More recently, it came to my eyes an incredible “journey” of more than 30 years carried out by Owen Gingerich, a former Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University, and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He spent more than 30 years of his life hunting down every known surviving copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s 1543 opus, “De revolutionibus” [see http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2004/04/13/book_quest_took_him_around_the_globe/]

His journey began as “a smallish project” to prove whether Copernicus’s work was or wasn’t read. Gingerich tracked who first owned each book, deciphered notes that studious readers – including Galileo Galilei – had penned in the margins, and plotted each book’s travels to form a picture of what the scientific network of the day looked like. His exhaustive research proved beyond question that “De Revolutionibus” was, indeed, a hard book to put down.

Needless to say that I have ordered Gingerich book and I am eager to read it!

#0032EAs most of the formers contributors to this “Journey of a Photograph” when I received the parcel and look at the picture inside it, I thought of a journey in a train. The trees in that picture inspired me and, after harvesting several drink cans converted to pinhole cams to register solargraphs during a holiday trip to my homeland in Asturias (North coast of Spain) I was lucky enough as to have manage to point in the right direction.

In the solargraph you see a centenary oak covered by the sun trails from the 15th of August 2013 to the 7th of February 2014. When I opened the can I found some water inside wetting the sensible black and white paper. This is, most probably, the responsible of producing those blue spots in the bottom and the “peculiar” brownish color. After letting it dry in the dark, I scanned the image formed during those months to get (after minimum post process in PS) the image you see above.

Can you image the distance we all traverse in our lives without even noticing it? A long Journey based on “Revolutionibus”