religion, routines, and other round objects
On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse traveled from northeast Asia to northwest Africa. Approximately 20 million Americans experienced the eclipse in the path of totality. 80 million more watched from their Brooklyn rooftops and Oklahoma backyards. A few stood on a hilltop in North Carolina, with chiggers in the grass and rum in the punch. For many who witnessed it, the eclipse felt important.
Scott Collison and I have the privilege of curating fLoromancy’s November posts. We asked four artists to create eclipse-themed work. As curators, we were loose, and probably unhelpful. The month’s posts have no designated theme, beyond explorations of the 2017 eclipse.
The eclipse itself was short, deterministic, rare, a choice not-our-own. Throughout the process, we talked about how trying to share the eclipse is like trying to share thirst. Or revelation. Or loss. It is a fact and a feeling and an event. How do you remember it? Where is it? / what is it? When you describe it, what sounds do you use?
fLoromancy’s November contributors approached the enormous thing we had asked them to reflect – a feeling a little like walking towards the sun with a hand mirror. We are grateful to them for doing that work.
Our first artist is Addison Miller, a screenwriter, filmmaker, and photographer in Atlanta, GA. We asked Addison to talk about his work and his process. It was about 2am at the East Point Waffle House. Here’s what he had to say:
[On working in film]
My favorite thing is being able to use motion and time and context and symbolism to move somebody - an audience member, whoever's watching. To affect them. And it's sort of, well, this is egotistical, but it's sort of God-like, because we're all psychologically weird and we can be manipulated. But ultimately, the goal has to be to do something that takes an audience member outside their control, where you say something in a certain way and they can't help but be moved by it. The big picture is masterpiece cinema, right? where you have major directors who are hitting the silver screen, and moving people and influencing policy-makers and society. They're part of the zeitgeist and all that. But even small pictures, when I have a fucking carpet in front of me and I have to figure out how to make this 30 second video of a carpet interesting and moving to somebody, how do I do that? What angles, what lighting? When do I cut to the next shot? Those things are interesting to me, it's sort of like hitting a mark. Aiming for something and hitting it precisely. If I can create a video that should be innocuous - I mean, nobody should be interested in this thing - and I can shoot it and cut it in a way that actually makes somebody feel something. Well, that’s a great feeling.
Motion is captivating. I'm not very good at talking about it with...words...but motion is just indescribably captivating. When we sense movement in a photograph, it becomes so intriguing. Seeing motion blur, or somebody in action, or insinuated movement, it really draws you in. Take that a step further and say, "We're going to have 24 pictures playing in a second, all one after the other." Whatever that leads to is going to intrigue a brain. And that’s video. I don't know how else to explain it, except that's how it works.
Addison’s timelapse video was shot on a Sony A7ii with a Canon 500mm f4 lens, and a 1.4x extender. The Sunchips portraits were shot on a Mamiya RZ67 with a Sekor 110mm F2.8 lens; and a Nikon FM2 with a Leica Summicron-R f2 lens.
We hope you enjoy his work, which we think is pretty special.
Jess Bernhart and Scott Collison
Official Sponsor of the 2017 Solar Eclipse
Mystics of the Eclipse
The Mystics of the eclipse,
Committed to circles and spheres and their own meanings,
Fail to perceive the cylinder
Extending toward us with laser beam straightness.
Our perspectives damned by the laws of physics,
With its own intentions.
The stirring rod clenched
By a thousand nuclear tendrils
Delicately gripping and full of hope and aim
To swirl us around in a pool of gelatinous dramatics
And mix us to a color that most appropriately suits
The galactic fengshui.
With a masterful hand,
The Painter stirs the land and the seas,
Scrambling lovers across continents,
Cautious not to churn us to mud.
But still we cry out, “What for!?”
And somber and uncertain, the Painter mumbles,
“A red ochre, I believe,
Should better balance my Ch’i.”
For the Painter,
Similarly damned by the laws of physics
Seeks clarity and order in a system spiraling relentlessly toward chaos,
Cycling Back by Backeast
To find solace in yesterday’s reasons,
Peering at the future through the lens of the past,
Shaded from the harsh light of an inconceivable truth
Under the foliage of an ever-branching tree
Of mythology and lore.
As once prophesied by those before us,
Who too witnessed the Sun go dark
In the midday sky, we are fashioned
In the faithful Painter’s image--
Into a fantastical picture of today.
Thus fantastic and fashionable and faithful are we.
The above photo series is neither an endorsement of or criticism against the Sunchips brand. The content depicted represents the sole view of the photographer, and is in no way associated with the Frito-Lay company or its affiliates.
No celestial body depicted has agreed to the use or licensing of others to use the materials, name, likeness, mannerisms, characteristics or any other biographical material concerning them for promotion, advertising, or sale in connection with the astronomical event or otherwise throughout the universe, in all media, now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity.
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