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Category: 52 Photographs

52 Photographs (2018): #2, Ventilation fans inside the 193cm telescope dome, Provence

52 Photographs (2018): #2, Ventilation fans inside the 193cm telescope dome, Provence

Each winter we make a trip to L’Observatoire de Haute-Provence (or, OHP). I wrote about it before On this blog. It is always a challenge to find something new to photograph!

This year I spent a lot of time photographing heavy machinery inside the domes. Very old heavy machinery because this stuff was made in the 1950s. Here are the ventilation fans inside the dome of the largest telescope, the 193cm (this is the first telescope in the world that detected a planet around another star). Much later, other instruments like the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope would also adopt similar strategies to improve atmospheric conditions inside the domes. The fans are an attempt to make air flow freely over the telescope and remove turbulence, which is the effect which make stars twinkle. Great for poets, not so great for astronomers.

At OHP, as far as I can tell, they are not used any more, and it’s not clear if they made a big difference. The “intrinsic seeing” of site is quite bad.

52 Photographs (2018): #1, One of César’s compressed cars, Beaubourg (January 2018)

52 Photographs (2018): #1, One of César’s compressed cars, Beaubourg (January 2018)

I admit that I quite enjoyed my 52rolls experience in 2016 and I missed taking part in 2017. It’s a good exercise to critically look over one’s photographs each week. However, I thought that maybe writing about a whole roll of film or an experience from a roll of film each week was a bit too much. There is not always such a large number of things going on… But, nevertheless, I am still shooting as much film as ever. So here is my idea: I will select one photograph per week, and write a short text about it. I’m already starting four weeks’ late, which is a good idea: that gives me time to decide what to post and what is interesting or not.

So here is the first photograph. A close-up one of one of César’s series of compressed cars. What was interesting about the show was how he used industrial methods to create works of art, leading the way for many artists after him.

A compressed car

I remember as a child we lived near to a scrap yard and I was fascinated by these machines which could reduce a full-sized family car to a cube a few meters across. Staring at César’s heavy blocks of metal I thought of this and of wondered how much weight the floors at Beaubourg could really hold.

See the other photographs in the series here