Looped traces

Melanie King

In the field of astrophotography, these images would be regarded as mistakes. However, I am interested in the idea of celestial objects “drawing” onto photosensitive material, whether onto analogue film or onto a photographic sensor. I am currently exploring the use of the word “celestography”, adapting the etymological structure of the word “photograph”. Celestography means to “draw from the heavens”, I find it highly inspiring to consider the movements of celestial objects as gestures reciprocated onto photosensitive film. The “errors” included in this series include the movement of the camera whilst imaging the Moon, leaving a looped trace of condensed moonlight. Zoomed In On Orion’s Belt requires the opposite, a camera remaining still on the Earth as it spins. The analogue star trails image is scarred by scratches and fingerprints, which indicates my presence. My memory of creating this image is much more evocative than the others, because my senses were engaged in different ways. I was in darkness for both the exposure and the development of the image, my sense of touch was incredibly important to feel for the shutter button, the structure of the spool and the tacky surface of the film.

Overall, I find these images beautiful in the simplicity of their composition, though they represent incomprehensibly vast and distant objects.


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