Different Dimension

"Marking Time" by David Stephenson, Australia

Photography's relationship to time is at the heart of its perceived truthfulness.
Whether it purports to be a factual record or a fictional artifice, the photographic seems to encode time
itself in a particular way. Light exists only in constant movement, within discrete temporal periods.
Thus all photographic processes, which must use light as their agent, record a particular interval
of time, always in the past, but represented in an eternal present.

David Stephenson's recent large format colour photographs explore the passage of time in the environment.
Representations of momentary or extended natural processes - including human actions such as grazing,
forestry, fire, mining, and residential development - mark the environment as a site of flux, its equilibrium
contested by various forces and competing value systems. The use of a diptych structure is frequently
employed to mark these momentary changes, from a shift in light to the movement of cloud shadows
across the landscape.

These momentary changes are contrasted to the sense of deep cosmological time referenced by the
night sky. The light of distant stars may take tens of thousands of years to reach us, and so my camera
is recording not just the present moment but also looking back into time, using light originating from
distant prehistory, and the rotation of the earth, to "draw" on the photographic film. Star Fugue I-IV
records the time of eight nights in Central Australia in 2005, mapping a 360-degree panorama of the
night sky earth as a set of four double exposures of nine hours duration each.