The images in the post would simply not exist without the guidance and teaching of Babak Tafreshi (these are from his Iceland Aurora Tour last month). He’s a master photographer, and if you ever want to learn about Night Sky Photography, he is truly “the guy“…
I haven’t written in quite a while. When I don’t have a singular artistic focus I tend to ramble, and I’m trying to avoid doing that. It’s also been a busy time for me as I’ve been working on multiple projects. In addition, we took a trip back to Iceland for the sole reason that I had wanted to see / photograph the Northern Lights since forever, and this tour presented a pretty amazing opportunity to do so.
Luck was on our side, too (as well as knowledge), and we were deeply fortunate to be in full view of a astonishing Kp7 aurora storm on our last night in the field. We saw other aurora activity that week, but… wow.
So… what does this have to do with acting? That’s a really good question, and one that I’m trying to work out. For about two years, I’ve been having dreams and ideas about creating a piece about the night sky. The trip to Mt. John Observatory in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand last year certainly fed into these “visions” (can I say that and still sound sane?), and notably, the only thing I brought back from tour in Korea was a reproduction of a 14th Century star map from the Joseon Dynasty called the Cheonsang Yeolcha Bunyajido (천상열차분야지도).
I think I’ve received enough signs from the universe, so I’ve decided to give this idea a whirl… partially because it won’t leave me alone, but also because the night of the Kp7 aurora storm felt exactly the same as the opening night of a very exciting show.
And I’m dead serious about that. I felt a whole lot of things that night, but the similarity was uncanny.
So, that’s that. Right now I’m in the phase where I’m asking a lot of questions. I have about seven major ideas, and none of them are particularly easy (what else is new?). I’ll be meeting with lots of others in the field, including my buddy Walter who has had continuing success with his show about Vincent Van Gogh. Apart from that, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be multilingual, small – medium scale, and hopefully site specific.
No rushing this time, either because I now know what this kind of show requires in terms of resources and energy. While I was preparing for the photography tour, I took a class at ICP. I was basically clueless with an actual camera, or at least one that wasn’t part of my phone. I was very nervous, and explained to the nice teacher that I had signed up for something that was absurdly out of my skill level, and I said to him, “I fear that my reach has exceeded my grasp”. He listened to what I had to say, assured me that I would do just fine. He also said that I would freeze… which was true, but I didn’t care much.
Later on, when I returned from Iceland, I would look up that quote by Robert Browning, which is from the poem Andrea del Sarto. This is the segment I was referring to, which was unintentionally perfect:
“Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”
See what I did there? Unintentionally? Not bad, huh?