Roger W. Rogers Gallery
In examining historical and contemporary astrophotography, Julia Bradshaw notes the aesthetics of scientific annotations such as alphanumeric designations, the mythological proper names of bright stars, and the descriptions of image content. In historic texts, she also notes the speculative scientific theories and florid language of exploration and speculation. Formally, Bradshaw is interested in the indexical information: the fiducial markers, the handwritten observations, the image-joinery and the overabundance of arrows. She notes incursions into the visual picture frame by the mechanics of the spaceships, and that in stitched-together images (known as photo-mosaics), all photographic data is retained.
Even though Bradshaw uses the aesthetics of scientific images to inform this project, all the artwork in Survey is created using silver-gelatin photographic processes and rudimentary tools. She uses a cardboard box for a camera, and images are manipulated with knives, inks, joins, dyes and reversals. The simplicity of the materials is a subtle poke at the vast gap between investment in science and investment in art.
Both space scientists and artists produce visual material, but one requires extraordinary investment for cosmic explorations, while the other explores the extraordinary richness of inner head space. To a certain extent, Bradshaw sees herself as an explorer of her imagination, creating maps, diagrams and places to discover. Her intent is to make observations about scientific images and scientific annotations and to create delightful confusion through wit. As such, Bradshaw acknowledges the complicated relationship between photography and reality.