I accidentally discovered Mark Gee’s Full Moon Silhouettes video when I was searching for something else online. A happy accident. I immediately emailed Mark to ask his permission to feature his work here and he kindly agreed. Mark Gee is a freelance photographer and digital visual effects artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked on numerous Oscar award-winning feature films and his photography is highly impressive too. I found Mark’s detailed description of how he created and shot the Full Moon Silhouettes video so interesting. Particularly his reference to the Moon illusion, which led me to read about it and philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s claim that the illusion is “purely intellectual or cerebral and not optical or sensuous.” As both a writer a synesthete who often ‘sees’ things that are purely in my own head or in my ‘mind’s eye’, this theory appealed to me imaginatively rather than factually (whether it’s true or not). And so I began to build a whole story around these images.
I often talk about the de-valuing of writing online, and the privileging of images over words. The work of photographers like Mark Gee however reminds me that perhaps images are also being de-valued in a similar way. That’s not to say that the online world isn’t infatuated with images, or doesn’t love to rabidly consume them. But, often, that’s where the engagement with them ends (as consumption rather than contemplation); the images are adored as flat, two-dimensional things that are emptied out of meaning. How many people will look at Mark’s images and his work and read about the difficult process that brought it about? Images have stories, and they are also created in fascinating processes. One of the things I love about a book like Sixty Lights, for example, is that it shows its reader the delicate and complex process of early photography, and how it evolved as an art form that interacts with storytelling. I get the same feeling from Mark’s work. So I hope you enjoy the video, and I hope you enjoy these images – not as things to be quickly consumed, but as imagery to be appreciated for the worlds it creates and the art form it represents (by the way, I was totally humming this song while gazing at these images and reading about their background stories):
International Dark Sky Week photo project at Red Rocks, © Mark Gee 2013
Super Moon, © Mark Gee 2011
International Dark Sky Week photo project at Princess Bay, © Mark Gee 2013
The Milky Way Rises Above A Foggy Wellington, © Mark Gee 2013
Half Moon over Wellington, New Zealand, © Mark Gee 2012
Star Chasing at Cape Palliser, © Mark Gee 2012
Milky Way Above The Wellington South Coast, © Mark Gee 2013
Tree Under the Stars, © Mark Gee 2012
All images and video are copyrighted to Mark Gee and are used here with permission.