Baits Solargraph

Reese Ford
Sophomore, Stamps School of Art & Design


Digital Photo


This image captures the sun’s path across the sky over the course of four days, developed by a pinhole camera positioned on Hubbard Rd. across from Baits II. Cool colors are purposefully used to enhance the captured environment and make it feel colder, going hand in hand with the snow pictured on the ground. Overall, the photograph utilizes color and allows viewers to see North Campus in a big-picture way they have never before.

This image is what is called a solargraph, a long-exposure photograph of the sun’s path across in the sky, developed over four days. The photograph is digitally scanned after being situated within a pinhole camera, in this case, made out of a Peace Tea can. Photographic paper inside of the camera must have low sensitivity in order to ensure that it can endure long exposures. Depending on a user’s location, the camera must be pointed in the correct direction to capture the sun. This camera was pointed south, and attached to a chain link fence across Hubbard Road on North Campus. Solargraphs can be left out for many months, or even years, capturing the full extent of the sun’s solstices. Depending on the time of year, the parabola-shaped exposure that the sun creates will rise and fall according to summer and winter. For the reason that we are still in winter, the sun’s curve remains relatively low. 

The composition of the developed image emphasizes the arcs of both the sidewalk in front of the camera and sun, which mirror each other, creating symmetry. Multiple layers of space are additionally created by the presence of a pole in the foreground, Baits II in the middle ground, and various North Campus buildings receding into the horizon. The cool color pallet aids in establishing a sense of cold temperatures, aligning with the snow on the ground present in the image. The icy blue hue bordering the frame turning into purple as it nears the sun additionally reflects this characteristic.