In astrophysics the “observable universe” is recognized as a celestial sphere containing all matter that can be presently viewed from Earth. This series of photographs explores our individual and collective relationships with astrophysical environments, the macro and micro spaces that surround them, and photographic terrain encompassing art and science. This has led me to me to consider the tangible spaces we inhabit near and amongst each other with an emphasis on the physical properties of light and how it occupies and is interpreted within vertical spaces. For over 15 years I have documented astrophysical environments throughout North America witnessing the depletion of dark skies accompanied by an increase of political agendas threatening the scientific and environmental landscapes. I consider how our existence is paralleled by the infinitely far-reaching horizontal and vertical axes of Earth and the cosmos and use a 7” x 17” analog large format view camera and film to capture the amount of visual information necessary to convey and explore these ideas. Each image originates by exposing a sheet of 7” x 17” black and white film. It is only during the darkroom process, after hand developing the film and contact printing the negative, that I begin to understand the environment I’ve photographed as well as what has not been recorded on the negative. Ultimately it is with the application of my visual memory, chemistry, and a desire to communicate the evidence of time on a singular sheet of photographic paper that allows the past, present, and future to emerge.
Lauren Orchowski documents and re-envisions our relationship to astrophysical environments and the spectral by creating film -based photographs with 8″ x 10″ and 7″ x 17″ large format cameras. Having received her first Instamatic camera at the age of 7 she began documenting the industrialized riverscape of upstate New York and has been making images for over 30 years with an environmental focus on the natural resource of the night sky. Her work has been exhibited on the International Space Station and throughout the United States, Germany, Iceland, and Japan.In 2010 her self-published ongoing documentary project “Rocket Science” second Runner Up in the Portfolio Category of The International Photo Book Now Competition. Her work is represented in several collections including The Bienecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, The Rutgers Archives for Printmaking, The George Eastman House, The International Center for Photography Library, and has been reviewed and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Scientific American, LENSCRATCH,, and VICE. Most recently her work received an Honorable Mention for the HARIBAN award was shortlisted for the Fotofilmic MESH award. She has studied Visual Communication at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany and holds a BFA in Photography from Arizona State University and an MFA in Photography from Hunter College. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, she lives and works in New York City.