The universe: it’s origins, it’s form, it’s nature and existential state is a subject that has enthralled scientists and philosophers for centuries. Along with progression in the sciences and technology, and growth in human knowledge, the ways in which we theoretically and visually conceive of the universe have transformed dramatically over time.
In an age of detailed satellite imaging, Garima Agarwal both references and transforms our visual perspective, by taking photographs at home that reproduce the visual narrative of the universe in her series titled Galaxy From My Viewpoint, runner up at the Tasveer–TFA Emerging Photographer Awards.
Stressing on the equal importance of both visual aesthetic and technical process, Agarwal explains, “The visual aesthetic is important because in the final photographs, the idea is to produce images as recorded by space satellites and/or the forms observed by our naked eyes. The technical process involves choosing the right set of items that can achieve this end result, as also matters of light and spatial arrangement.” In the images featured below, for instance, she explains, only four items were used: a rock used to create the feel of the moon; silver sparkle used to create the stars; black chart paper that functioned as a black sky; and a bulb as light source. Photographs taken by NASA and other satellite imagery services were used as image references, in order to understand the formation and state of observable heavenly bodies, but the attempt here was to showcase them in a “completely new dimension using imagination”.
Commenting on how she is invested in exploring photography’s functions as narrative device, creative process and an agent of social change, Garima adds that “Being chosen as a runner up to the Tasveer – TFA prize has both encouraged me, and increased my confidence in testing the limits of photography. It has been an amazing platform for me to showcase my work to the outside world and I would really like to thank Tasveer and TFA for giving me this opportunity. I am currently freelancing and working on few projects related to social issues, while also furthering Galaxy From My Viewpoint.”
Experimental in nature and brave in form, this series explores the illusionary abilities of photography as a medium; and more significantly, in many ways, sight itself. Pitting documentation against imagination, these photographs reframe our understanding of both the universe and the everyday by questioning the ways in which ‘seeing’ is constructed and the world is imagined.