Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionArt in coproductionpeer-review


Since its inception in 2000, the Solaris project, a proposal in the field of slow photography, has involved the manipulation of images and the undermining of the social contract in defining the photographic medium. Long, anti-flicker shots lasting from a few months to a few years specifically emancipate the most important subject in photography, namely – light, captured in terms of an object.

The solarigraphic method assumes a hybrid process combining the use of analogue light-sensitive materials, conventional cameras and ready-made or DIY constructions, image processing using scanners, digital but raw post-production (limited to parameters such as framing, contrast, brightness) and distribution of the images in art and net-art spaces. Making the Solaris project’s formula available – first on the server, now on many author websites – popularises it among visual artists from all over the world, translating into a diversity of solar drawings. The specificity of solarigraphic images is influenced by a number of factors, the most important of which are: long exposures to light (time), geographical location (location and climate), constructional assumptions made (camera), and social consent to the presence of cameras in public space (culture/society).

Exposure of the paper negatives over several months reveals drawings – called ‘the path of the sun’, ‘solar tracks’ – dependent on the movement of the planet Earth, having the sunlit camera aperture as its ‘stylus’. When the camera is directed against the light, and the process takes at least a few weeks, the photograph makes visible how the Earth moves the image by creating cyclical lines on it. In extreme conditions, exposures take place without a camera, using solarigrams, i.e. in conditions where the matrix is adjacent to the real object, while the object of the image, still remains light.

The images change due to the geographical location of the cameras. Other variables, i.e. seasons, length of days, humidity, affect the materiality of the mechanisms and the condition of the negatives. Strong exposures sometimes directly burn the drawings, while high humidity imposes separate layers adding material qualities to the images of the objects.

The mechanical basis of solarigraphy are pinhole cameras (#pinholecamera) which are contemporary, creative modifications of the camera obscura. Due to the materials or products used to realise the cameras, solarigraphic techniques have a recycled, but also a symbolic or subversive character, as they set out processual co-texts (U. Eco) for the images created.

In the world’s metropolises and large cities, social consent to the presence of cameras monitoring public life is high. However, it is a different thing to process a single image over many months or years with artisanal cameras. Unidentified objects, cans, boxes, photographic papers left in public spaces are often destroyed by passers-by. In this way, the photographs become testimonies of the consent, or lack thereof, to what deviates from the norm in public space. In other cases, the images show views from places where artists’ studios are located or where art mixes with privacy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWrocław, Poland
PublisherMediatons Biennale Polska
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022
MoE publication typeF2 Public partial realisation of a work of art
EventSolaris_manipulations - Graphics Gallery of the University of SWPS Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland
Duration: 8 Nov 202230 Nov 2022

Field of art

  • Contemporary art


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