Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography is a collection of photographs that truly captivate an audience. With its rich colors, dramatic movement, and awesome subject matter, many of the pieces in this exhibition are stunning, to say the least. With this in mind, I would expect many favorites of this show to be the powerful views of the stars or the galaxies, as these are the photographs that completely overtake an audience because of its unfamiliarity and marvelous beauty. I would totally agree that these specific photos are amazing and “jaw-dropping,” but when I picked my favorite piece in this collection, I turned to something a little more reserved.
The first time I saw Dennis Di Cicco’s Solar Analemma I was immediately taken with it. It doesn’t have vibrant colors or capture the mysteries of the universe, but it still left me confused, more so than any other piece. The three streaks of light combined with the dots forming an infinity symbol were perplexing. What did these things represent? I did what any young adult living in a digital world would do, I went to the internet and plugged in the photograph’s information hoping that I would find an explanation. After traveling to one site, I found the answer: Di Cicco’s photograph is a multi-exposure print – a print that was exposed to the sun numerous times. This answer created even more questions for me. Since I am not a photographer, I had to backtrack a little and give myself a crash course on Photography 101 to learn more about all these techniques. I learned that because Di Cicco exposed a single frame to the sun multiple times, he was able to capture the movement of the Earth. The dots that make up the analemma (what looks like an infinity symbol) are actually images of the sun taken throughout one year. The image shows where the sun is located based on the movement of the Earth as well as the tilt of its axis. The three streaks of light are also images of the sun but taken over the course of one hour. As the sun sets it creates what simply looks like a line. Both time lapses were exposed to one frame creating the overall photograph.
Wow. What I learned about this work really fascinated and solidified my appreciation for it. In a way, this photograph contains the wonder and marvel that others find in some of the more attention-getting images because it captures in one image what we see in an hour and year. We usually don’t think much about the placement of the sun in the sky or where it moves throughout the day, but this is what makes this photograph even more exciting. It may be a simple image, but it is an image that has captured the essence of time as well as the rotation of the Earth. That is pretty miraculous, if you ask me.
Share your thoughts! What is your favorite work in Starstruck exhibition? Why? Post these in the comment section below!
-Taylor Hunkins, Michener Art Museum Intern