Sharon Harper's sky images seem to track the universe in two different directions. One is the human, feet-on-the-ground, eyes-pointed-skyward view of the amateur astronomer. This view reminds us that stunning photography and even new discoveries in the night sky do not exclusively belong to those with telescopes or to orbiting satellites. The other direction is one that veers off the edge of the visible cosmic horizon into the realm of imagination. What does it feel like to be inhabiting the Copernican universe, where we've been displaced from the center of the universe?
As Harper aims her camera at the moon, she lets chance run its course as she rotates the camera back for multiple exposures. She lets the camera collect the data. She fills her notebook with detailed notes on location, exposure and conditions. And then she gives us a picture of a world where the sky is crowded with moons. How to set a course by this sky? Perhaps this is what we might find, if we could see past the edge of the observable universe
, 40 odd billion light-years away--multiple universes with completely different physical laws and spatial dimensions?
In the introduction to Harper's new photography book, From Above and Below
, which includes more earth-bound landscapes in addition to the sky photography, Phillip Prodger writes: "The photographs record the act of observation as much as the thing observed. Thus Harper’s art becomes a kind of performance, as she endeavors to make compelling images on our behalf." To see more of Harper's work, visit her website
"Moon Studies and Star Scratches, No. 4. June-September 2004. Saratoga Springs, New York; Middlesex, Vermont; Johnson, Vermont; Eden Mills, Vermont; Greensboro, North Carolina."