Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Eclipses, Phases, Transits and Occultations

Jul 13, 2015 - Jeremy August Haik

Before photography, we had ancient constellations. These celestial abstractions of myth and folklore gave way to the scientific obervation and study of the solar system, and ultimately far-flung galaxies and exoplanets. It should be no surprise the celestial bodies have long been a muse for photographers (among other artists). I've written briefly about the essay Total Eclipse in Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk previously in this blog post , and I thought today I'd expand on the idea with some of my favorite photographic images (and one of my own) that come to mind when reading it. Here's the passage: You have seen photographs of the sun taken during a total eclipse. The corona fills the print. All of those photographs were taken through telescopes. The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience. Lenses enlarge the sight, omit its context, and make of it a pretty and sensible picture, like something on a Christmas card. I assure you, if you send any shepherds a Christmas card on which is printed a three-by-three photograph of the angel of the Lord, the glory of the Lord, and a multitude of the heavenly host, they will not be sore afraid. More fearsome things can come in envelopes. More moving photographs than those of the sun’s corona can appear in magazines. But I pray you will never see anything more awful in the sky. You see the wide world swaddled in darkness; you see a vast breadth of hilly land, and an enormous, distant, blackened valley; you see towns’ lights, a river’s path, and blurred portions of your hat and scarf; you see your husband’s face looking like an early black-and-white film; and you see a sprawl of black sky and blue sky together, with unfamiliar stars in it, some barely visible bands of cloud, and over there, a small white ring. The ring is as small as one goose in a flock of migrating geese – if you happen to notice a flock of migrating geese. It is one 360th part of the visible sky. The sun we see is less than half the diameter of a dime held at arm’s length. - Annie Dillard excerpted from Total Eclipse in Teaching a Stone to Talk And here are a couple videos that came to mind in thinking about this passage as well: Walid Ra'ad and the Atlas Group - I only wish that I could weep [embed][/embed] Simon Starling's Black Drop traces the history of recording the transit of Venus across the sun. His video was made in 2012 during the last such transit. Venus will not complete another trasit until 2117. [vimeo video_id="67220997" width="746" height="420"] Peter Coffin -  4 color eclipse [vimeo video_id="86652043" width="746" height="420"] William Lamson - A Line Describing the Sun [vimeo video_id="21481196" width="746" height="420"] [And since I can't embed it here's  a great video by Semiconductor]