My series “Atoms / Stones” is a lyrical atlas, made of fireworks, insects, pre-historic rock carvings, night skies, and portraits of sleepers. In Madrid, I encountered a 250,000-year-old fragment of a cranium––its interior laced with inky lines, branching like rivers on a map. This led me to a photographic investigation at the intersection of cosmology and cartography.
Charting their paths and patterns in the dark sky: stars, fireworks, satellites, and fireflies plot their coordinates in light. These dots and dashes, made on both a micro and macro scale, collide and scatter like atomic particles, tracing the universe on film. Other photographs are from my nighttime explorations in Portugal’s Côa River Valley. Here, Paleolithic images of horses, aurochs, felines, and ibex were incised into the rocky terrain over 20,000 years ago; marking the route of late Ice Age migrations and the origins of art-making.
“Atoms / Stones” builds upon my previous photographic investigations of night, wilderness, and the unknown. In the new work, I return to themes of transformation and flux while registering the redemptive value of the ephemeral, remote and ancient.
All images ©Megan Cump