Sunday, August 27, 2006


The National Maritime Museum is showing three sets of photographs by Dan Holdsworth: At the Edge of Space (1999), The Gregorian (2005) and Hyperborea (2006). Images can be seen at the artist’s website. For me the most impressive were the last of these, a series of photographs of the Northern Lights taken in Reykjavik and the Andoya Rocket Range above the Arctic Circle in Norway. The eerie light that dominates these images casts strange colours on the snow: often a sort of faintly luminous grey-green, here and there a quartz-like pink. The rocks and ice lie inert, looking almost unreal beneath these lurid pulsing skies, although in a few of the images an orange glow seems to emanate from the ground from some artificial light sources. Holdsworth’s long exposures leave traces of stars: arcs of varying intensities in delicate shades of turquoise or orange-green. Rather than isolate views, these photographs manage to convey a sense of planetary motion and connect the landscape with a wider view of space and time.

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