Professor Carothers plans major eclipse exhibition

As the eclipse unfolds Monday, one UofL professor will have her camera lens trained to the skies to capture it in a unique way.

Mary Carothers, a Hite Art Institute professor, is creating “Overshadowed,” a “collaborative, experimental exhibition that examines the meeting point between photography, landscape and astronomy.”

Carothers has pulled a team of 17 photographers together to shoot the eclipse, with at least one in each of the 12 states in which the eclipse passes with totality. They’ll use a new technique called slow scan photography, which captures reality in a slow scanning motion across a scene, offering a new twist on the traditional long exposure. The culminating images of the eclipse will be made of nearly 4,000 to 5,000 photographs.

The “Overshadowed” images will be on display at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts, 100 E. Main St., Sept. 22 through Oct. 28.

The opening reception for the show, which is part of the Louisville Photo Biennial, is 5-6 p.m. Oct. 6 during the First Friday Gallery Hop.

Overshadowed promotion photo

Carothers co-created the project with British photographer Brian McClave, a pioneer of the slow scan technique. As a UofL Liberal Studies visiting scholar, he’ll give a talk titled “Space, Place and Time,” from 4-5 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Chao Auditorium of Ekstrom Library. The lecture will overview his 30 years of experimenting with photography and video and will include work on the total solar eclipse and the aurora borealis. 

On Monday, Carothers and McClave will be in South Carolina to shoot the eclipse as it departs American soil and heads out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Others from UofL are involved in “Overshadowed” as well:

  • Photography professor Mitch Eckert and incoming MFA photography candidate Zed Saeed will cover different locations in Kentucky.
  • UofL Astronomy Professor Benne Holwerda, who is the resident astronomer at Kentucky Dam, will contribute from that location.
  • John Jaynes, UofL’s Assistant Director of Sponsored Program Development and an astronomy and photography buff, will shoot from a pontoon in the Land Between the Lakes.
  • Several Hite photo alumni will be stationed in other states: Kelsi Wermuth in Oregon, Mary Yates in Illinois, Laura Arrot Hartford in Tennessee and Jimmy Devore in North Carolina.

“For me, this is like a grand performance,” Carothers said. “Each photographer will soon be connected by forces much greater than time and landscape. I do have at least one photographer positioned in every eclipse state … but when it comes to thinking about this rare occurrence, state lines are merely man made boundaries.”

Story by Niki King