A new photo book exploring how trees might experience time is available to pre-order now. Solargraphs by Al Brydon uses pinhole cameras with month-long exposure times.
Published by JW Editions the book is the culmination of a five-year project.
The series sees Brydon ‘slowing down time’ to create a huge collection of individual moments in one image.
“Solargraph images are how I think a tree might experience time if it could,” said Brydon.
“Slowly, not seeing what we’re able to see and at the same experiencing everything we can’t.
“This is the only way I get to see this version or copy of a reality that I’m unable to experience first-hand.”
Chaos of the universe condensed into an image
Solargraphs are pinhole cameras with exposure times measured in months rather than fractions of a second.
“This slowing down of time produces the arcs of the sun as it traces its way across the sky,” said Brydon.
By its nature this process meant the project was a long one – something Brydon said raised interesting questions.
“Is it a different me collecting the solargraph than the person who left it? Maybe a window into what the landscape looks like when I’m not there to experience it?
“What’s implied in the image is as important as what you can see. Anything moving quickly isn’t pictured but is in there.
“Solargraphs see everything (metaphorically) like photographic black holes.
“Every moment of joy and sadness you have experienced while each exposure was made is in there somewhere.
“A newborn’s first breath and another person’s last. The chaos of the universe condensed into photographic form.
“More than a moment. A tumbling cascade of moments set within the confines of a 5×7 piece of darkroom paper.
“With Solargraphs we are able to experience time almost in a geological sense and gain a glimpse into a differing reality than our own.
“A looped reminder of how wonderfully fleeting our lives are.”
An apparent simplicity
In his introduction to the first-edition, Rob Hudson highlights the contrast between the project’s low-tech roots and its universal results.
“It is the apparent simplicity with which these solargraphs are made, that physical process, that makes them all the more remarkable,” he said.
“For something so utterly entrancing to come from an empty beer can with a tiny hole, some light sensitive paper that’s been gaffer taped to a tree for months at a time is perhaps the most surprising element of these images.
“It brings photography back down to earth by taking us to a whole new universe.”
Available to pre-order now, Solargraphs comes in a standard first and limited print edition.
The standard first edition is a 210 x 295mm hardback and is priced £30.
The signed limited edition is accompanied by a signed and numbered print of Death of a Wood. Only 50 copies are available, priced £70.
To pre-order visit www.jweditions.co.uk
For more on the artist visit www.al-brydon.com
Main image: From the Solargraphs series © Al Brydon