Lunatic Fringe: Moon Studies
(Current work in progress, keep checking back to see more!)

For the past couple years I have become fascinated by the moon, with all of its lore, science, and pure magic. Within my fascination I sought out a local planetarium so that I could volunteer my time, to in turn learn from the resident expert who worked there, Sharon Ohm. While I was able to satiate my research desires in the realm of outer space, and all of the orbiting spheres within it, I still had not figured out how to visually articulate my findings and fascinations. While I did learn how to create and output my moon videos for a full dome experience, I knew that the science behind the idea was still lacking.

While I was working on a demo of alternative darkroom practices for my students, I used images from my archive of moons I had amassed throughout the past two years. I came to the realization that the science behind the work that I was lacking was that of science meets fiction. Looking at a fogged piece of paper that had begun to turn from the soft amber lights, I wondered what would happen if I tried to make lumen prints in complete darkness, only lit by the glow of the full moon.


So I tried it. And it worked.

 


Archival Inkjet from Archival Scans of Lumen Prints: Reflected Sunlight from June 9-10, 2017: 9 hours, 15 minutes of Reflected UV
Captured at Daniel Boone National Forest, Salt Lick, KY, in a zero light pollution area, during the full moon phase, from moonrise to moonset

 

For several days around the full moon phase, I began leaving contact prints outside, between moonrise and moonset. I tried various locations, with varying degrees of darkness and light pollution to test the results. The soft pink hues that are barely washed away by the fixer maintain the feminine magic of the moon, while mimicking the softness of its presence during the final call of the sun on a brilliant pastel evening. After I began explaining this process to my colleagues and students, I realized that the active part of the sun’s UV rays in this process was difficult for some to grasp. This created yet another experiment with darkroom paper and contact printing, because---well, I like complicated and process driven art!

 


Archival Inkjet from Archival Scans of Lumen Prints: Ambient UV from July 23-24, 2017: 8 hours, 40 minutes of Various Light Pollution
Captured in a residential, wooded backyard in downtown Lexington, KY, in an extreme light pollution area, during the new moon phase, from moonrise to moonset

 

 


Archival Inkjet of Digitally Archived Solarized Contact Print on Silver Gelatin: Moon Study #17, 2016

 

The next step within the process was to contact print, while dodging everything save for the face of the moon, then solarizing the paper with agitated development to reference the simultaneous presence of the sun, moon and tides, which are governed by both spheres—all at once. The resulting fictional atmospheric landscapes which I create reference all too well the direction I fear our scientific research is headed toward if proper scientific funding and education is not appreciated or supported by our current administration. Our current political climate promotes the belief that the pursuit of scientific research is a fringe activity perpetuated by liberals. Within this work, I aim to create images that employ reality, mixed with the fiction that is created by the artist’s hand through chemistry and light. It is a foreshadowing of what may be to come. It is a commentary on issues of light pollution, and the importance of space research for the greater good of the planet Earth.

 

 


Archival Inkjet of Digitally Archived Solarized Contact Print on Silver Gelatin: Moon Study #42, 2017

 

 


Archival Inkjet of Digitally Archived Solarized Contact Print on Silver Gelatin: Moon Study #43, 2017

 


Archival Inkjet of Digitally Archived Solarized Contact Print on Silver Gelatin: Moon Study #10, 2016

 

© 2016-17 Heather Stratton