Preview: David Malin, The Invisible Universe, Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA

In Black and White Photography on March 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm
Dust and Gas Adrift in Orion, David Malin

Dust and Gas Adrift in Orion, David Malin

The beauty of the cosmos has always held humanity’s attention. Joseph Bellows has teamed up with David Malin to display Malin’s impressive captures of the night’s sky in an online gallery.

The art of photography has, since its inception, repeatedly crossed paths with the science of astronomy: the art providing the science with new tools of perception and analysis, the science lifting the art into the divine realm of the unseen. The “ancient heavens” which compose the study of astronomy – stars long vanished whose light travels to us through billions of years – remain largely invisible to the naked eye. The alchemy of photography reveals their latent images, providing us with ghostly visions of the origins of our universe.

For over 25 years, the astronomical photographer David Malin (born 1941) has been opening up radically new vistas into this enlarged perception of the universe. His photographs of celestial objects were shot at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in New South Wales – where Malin was the photographic scientist from 1975 to 2001 – using one of the largest telescopes in the world. But it is mainly Malin’s innovative darkroom techniques that have enabled him to produce unparalleled images of distant objects too faint to be seen by the eye alone. In his photographic laboratory in Sidney, Malin has invented new ways of extracting information from astronomical photographs that lead to the discovery of two new types of galaxies, one of which is the largest galaxy known, Malin I. These processes include “photographic amplification”, a way of copying glass plate negatives with a diffuse light source to bring out faint signals that ordinary exposures can’t record, and unsharp masking which enables subtle features to stand out in the brighter parts of an image without overexposing the print.

For more information, and to check out the gallery: Joseph Bellows Gallery

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