Maunder Minimum (2009-present) is the first series of photographs I made exploring the phenomenon of retinal afterimages. In collaboration with Everett Lawson, I set out to build a unique photographic device, one that could capture fleeting, decaying images formed out of the remains of light. The title refers to the historical period from 1645-1715, during which sunspots became exceedly rare according to solar observers of the time.
This is the first camera my collaborator and I successfully created to photograph retinal decay. In order to do this, we mapped our own retinas and used that information to make artificial retinal membranes from hydro-polymer material embedded with different colored particles of strontium aluminate. The lenses focus images onto the phosphorus membrane, creating the corresponding crystal particles of strontium to activate and retain the optical information, which in turn, shifts in color before it is exposed onto large format color film.