Pillars of Creation, Lenticular Print, 2017.
Commissioned by Central Saint Martins
'Pillars of Creation’ is a photograph taken by the Hubble Telescope of interstellar gas and dust within the Eagle Nebula. The gas and dust are in the process of creating new stars, yet are also being destroyed by stars which exist nearby. These images were originally created by Zoltan Levy, the Imaging Group Lead at the Space Telescope Science Institute. By presenting the Pillars of Creation as a lenticular print, I purposefully encourage the viewer to look beyond the image constructed for public outreach purposes.
You will see the image of the Pillars of Creation change between the monochrome image, which is directly based on the original readings from the telescope instrument and includes a series of mechanical processing steps that involve minimal subjective and aesthetic choices, to the finished full colour image we are used to seeing, which is based on the combination of different monochrome views involving a greater deal of subjective and aesthetic choices to create a product to be presented and publicized through mainstream media networks.
This work is part of my practice-based PhD research at the Royal College of Art which challenges the notion of objectivity in the field of astronomical imaging. My research asks: can we ever be certain of something? What are the criteria that are used as “proof” in astronomical discoveries, and how do they relate to the images of the cosmic objects that are used in the process? This installation encourages you, the viewer, to consider these ideas, to look beyond the constructed illusion and to pick apart images that you are presented with on a daily basis. Analyse them, be critical, aim at truly understanding what is underneath. Things might not be as they seem, after all.