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Capturing Starlight

Chloe Bartram

In the State Library of Western Australia is the collection connected to the 1922 Wallal solar eclipse expedition. This endeavour saw a delegation of international scientists and astronomers embark on a journey to the north-west of Western Australia to witness a solar eclipse, capture starlight and verify Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

Capturing Starlight draws on this material, using archival photography, fieldwork, and artefact to explore the tension between the photographic image as art and evidence. This work is a consideration of where art and the archive intersect and what can be suggested through the re-enactment of historical archival material. Is the accessibility of the archive increased when it is interpreted beyond the immediate function to inform and remember? Through processes of cropping, reproduction and tracing of history which leads to fragmentation, fracturing and unfolding, the project endeavours to illuminate what is not so much hidden, as unseen and unnoticed in the archive.

Chloe Bartram, photographic artist and sometimes PhD candidate at Murdoch University, explores archival photographs of solar eclipse expeditions. She was the 2022 JS Battye recipient at the State Library of Western Australia, allowing her to interact with the physical material while also elevating her love affair with libraries and books.


Instagram @chloebartramphoto

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