For more than 30 years, Alan Friedman has been making hand silkscreen greeting cards by day and photographing celestial bodies at night.
During the past decade, his attention has been focused on the sun.
A selection of Friedman’s recent sun images are on display in photo-eye’s show “Cosmos,” which opens at the gallery on May 25 in celebration of humanity’s fascination with the vast expanse beyond Earth’s boundaries.
Friedman’s observatory is in his backyard in downtown Buffalo (New York). “I have to contend with telephone and power wires, trees and rooftops when trying to capture images of the sun,” explains Friedman, who calls himself a citizen astronomer.
“The conditions under which I photograph the sun aren’t ideal in any way, but what’s great is that the bulk of my work is done 50 feet from my back door,” he adds. “This way, I don’t miss anything. The sun tells a different story every day.”
Sitting underneath a cloth that’s silver outside and black inside, Friedman uses a solar telescope he calls “Little Big Man” to make recordings of the sun during moments when the air around him is calm and the images he sees in the camera appear steady. His webcam takes 120 frames a second. Each image that Friedman chooses to put into print has been heavily processed so the whirls, swirls and other features on the sun’s surface become more prominent.
Among the other photographers whose works are in the show are Chris McCaw, who uses handmade cameras and vintage silver-gelatin paper to make solarized prints that track the sun’s movements; Beth Moon, who captures African trees with star-lit backdrops; and Bryant Austin, whose minimal and atmospheric landscapes are portraits of the sun while it traverses the sky on a specific day at a specific time.