As a photographer specialising in installations and engagement with expansive phenomena – both natural and man-made – Noemie Goudal is becoming well-recognised for her flawless intersections between the real and the imagined. Fascinated and compelled by our interaction with the world around us, Goudal creates “photographs and films that, wherein close proximities of truth and fiction, offer new perspectives into the photographic canvas”. In this sense her latest project, Southern Light Stations, is no different.
An investigation into the way people viewed the skies before the telescope, Southern Light Stations presents a range of seascapes that each encapsulate an aspect of human curiosity. These are characteristics of human nature – intrigue, awe, exhilaration – that remain relevant to our current relationship with the vast natural world, despite the generous advances of science and technology.
In some images, black hanging spheres and blacker backgrounds explore early, primitive views that the sky was an imposing roof above the Earth. Others allude to Copernicus’s extroverted fascination with the sky and the wider universe, through the composition of wide blue seascapes, large orbs and remote light stations.
The majority of images focus on a centre circle or abstract monument, holding the focal point of our own curious eyes and often hanging in the frame by a flimsy scaffold of string. These embedded structures draw a telling reference to the interaction of mankind and mother nature, revealing the irrepressible imagination that leads us to actively recreate and replicate elements of the world around us, but also questioning the integrity and significance of these creations in the midst of such an expansive natural world.
Through images that resound with dreams and creativity, Southern Light Stations explores mankind’s varied relationships with the skies and surrounding landscapes, and in doing so observes our imagination, our evolution and our humble futility.