The sun transits Sagittarius (the Archer)
between November 22 and December 21.
According to astrological belief, Sagittarrius,
as well as Aries and Leo, are considered fire signs.
Generally, people with these signs search for things
that light them up, that create passion. They are
prone to sudden flashes of insight and enthusiasm.
Last summer, I walked the beach at Montauk, NY about 11:00 pm with my son and wife, shooting beach/ocean photos illuminated by the full moon. One of our successful photos is called “Beach Glow.”
On a weekend in October, I attended a class at Geneseo College, a New York State school, during parent’s weekend while visiting my son, Nick. The class was digital humanities. The professor talked about the availability of collaborative efforts in research and art. Among other things, he discussed ethics and credibility. If you read my blog entry “Beach Glow and Sagittarius” you know that my son Nick collaborated with me on the original “Beach Glow,” for which I credit him on each print. In the pursuit of creativity, collaboration and credibility, I now produce the second and third images as part of a triptych.
“Beach Glow” has become a successful image. I’ve been selling it on canvas in varying sizes for a year. On occasion, several customers, when shown the blog entry, have asked if I could produce a triptych as in the blog. I held off because of copyright issues. Shortly after attending the lecture on digital humanities, I researched the legitimacy of using the screenshot of Sagittarius rendered by Johan Meuris and discovered it is available under The Free Art License, which grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and transform creative works without infringing the author’s rights as long as credit is attributed to the original artist. So I went ahead and produced these three 12×18 canvas images in a black, hardwood frame:
Here is an enlarged version of my photo and Johan’s Sagittarius, which I now call “Sagittarius Fire”:
I stapled the following info on a card on the back of the third image:
I have been in touch with Johan, who lives in Belgium, to affirm his acknowledgment and agreement with my use of his rendering. He replied, “I am always excited to hear how people are using my constellation images. They were made to popularize Stellarium, back in my student days. . . With the images becoming widely distributed, the thankyou notes or requests to use the images somewhere have regularly given me a good feeling.”
I volunteered to either give him a percentage of my sales or send him a 12×18 image of the image. He said he would be thrilled if I’d simply send him a rolled up print of the Montauk beach photo without the constellation overlays. He said he likes it a lot and he’d rather not be looking back at his old work. I was happy to oblige and sent his photo in a mailing tube last week.
I can see why he may be drawn to the original “Beach Glow.” Take a look at two of his glowing night images, an illuminated tent—2009 and Golden Glows—2011, a guitar-playing threesome in the woods—both exceptional.
I could not have produced this image by myself. I had the help, skill, and aesthetic eyes of two other people: my son, Nick, and Johan Meuris. Nick helped me shoot the primary image, Johan rendered the original artwork of Sagittarius. And need I forget—while at an art show where first displaying “Beach Glow,” my photo friend, John Todaro, asked me if I had identified the constellation. I had not, and that’s where Stellarium came in.
In this case, I sought not to be the sole author of a work of art, but an agent in the practice that produced it.