Standard Stars is the culmination of several years of photographing and working with materials from the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive housed at PARI, a former NASA base located in the Pisgah National Forest in Rosman, North Carolina. This limited-edition portfolio contains twelve photogravure prints selected from the thousands of images I've made for this project.
The Astronomical Photographic Data Archive is attempting to collect all the glass plate astronomical photographs in one central repository, and currently maintains a collection consisting of hundreds of thousands unique photographs. My interest in the collection is focused on the objects that have deteriorated due to time, human error, or a combination of the two.
Over several trips I've immersed myself in the archive and found the images where the plates were dropped, improperly stored, or have succumbed to the ravages of time. Broken glass, peeling emulsion, and the human attempts to stop or correct these errors interact with the stars and galaxies they seek to preserve. Visually and metaphorically, the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive represents the human attempt to study, organize, and represent the Universe. In my archive, the organization and representation devolves into chaos and abstraction.
I'm thrilled to put this portfolio out into the world this summer. You can watch a flip-through video of the maquette I made here, or see more work from Standard Stars here. Contact me if you or your institution is interested in adding Standard Stars to your collection.