the green ray

May 12, 2021

Sunsets, like first snowfalls, and newborn babies, never seize to amaze us, no matter how many times we see them. I owe my love of sunsets to my Dad, who observes them with a reverence that is nothing short of holy. When I came across Tacita Dean’s The Green Ray this morning, I thought of the hundreds of sunsets we’ve watched together. I thought about the beach on Ana Maria Island, where a little over a year ago, under a sky of uncertainty, my family and I watched a giant, golden orb melt into the ocean. It’s the last time I can remember watching the full passage of the sun as it descends from the sky into the water. The green ray is a rarely-seen visual phenomenon, where the slowest setting ray of sun passes over the horizon and turns green.¬†Too ‘elusive for the digital world,” Dean captures the moment by analogue recording. The passing of time, and light, are both central to her work. “Digital is so known, and film is all about the unknown,” says Dean of her choice to record on 16 mm film. If you have a moment today, watch The Green Ray. It’s quite exquisite. “Looking for the green ray became about the act of looking itself, about faith and belief in what you see.”

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