If photography is about memory, then Observatories is about mountains’ memories.
Observatories renders an expanded sense of time in depicting landscapes. It attempts to slow down and use a slower rhythm to observe, reflect, and record images – one that is more on a geologic time scale. Observatories presents an alternative to a typical, cursory anthropocentric gaze and snapshot.
For Observatories, camera stations are constructed in specific locations with a targeted view. Over periods of months and years, the cameras record long exposures of 2-30 minutes at different times of day and at different wavelengths of light. Much as a painter might create an image over a period of days or weeks, these slow exposures are layered on top of each other and blended together to give a sense of long durations. As well, the images pull from techniques in data visualization where different wavelengths are used to emphasize important visual elements.
This series is ongoing. Many of the camera stations are still in use, and these images will change as more data and layers are added.
The first series of Observatories was completed in 2018 at Windgrove, Tasmania, and featured recording and simulating 2-month exposures of rugged coastal landscape and skies. The series used infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light wavelengths to capture typically unseen aspects of the landscape.
The second series is currently underway in the mid-Atlantic area of the US, working toward one-year exposures of deciduous trees and how they change over the four seasons.
The third series is planned and will occur in the American Southwest, where long-abandoned human developments reveal the ephemeral nature of human activities in relation to geologic time and the deep time of the universe. Subjects could include the ancient cites of Chaco, the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde, and ghost towns in remote regions of Southern California and Nevada.