Penelope Umbrico’s ‘Suns from Flickr’
Upon searching the word ‘sunsets’ on flickr Penelope Umbrico discovered more than half a million photos of sunsets that had been shared by people from all around the world. Selecting a few hundred from this vast collection she created the ‘suns from Flickr’ installation in which the selected photos were placed side-by-side forming a huge wall of suns.
What I find most interesting about this piece are the questions it raises about technology as an artefact and our use of it (in all its varying forms) for the representation of natural phenomena. The sun in all its ubiquity has and continues to be photographed via the many different types of photograph technology; many of these photographs are then shared on the internet on websites like flickr, facebook and of course tumblr. Umbrico, whether intentionally or inadvertedly, lays emphasis on the underlying veneer of irony that characterises nature photography. Photography as a medium of artistic expression has indeed impressed upon us many of the often-fleeting splendours of the natural world, splendours that are sufficiently ephemeral to render the capturing of them in time, through photography, more of a worthwhile pursuit. The sun however is and will, to the best of my scientific knowledge, always be here – the giver of life and warmth so completely eternal, it begs the question: why are there so many photos of it?
‘Suns from Flickr’ is currently on display as part of the ‘Landmark: the Fields of Photography’ exhibition now on at Somerset House in London: http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/about/press/press-releases/landmark-the-fields-of-photography
- Adrian Deen