Local Artist Captures Drew University’s Sunny Side

Solargraph images track the sun’s path on campus from March to June

July 2021 – Local artist Christian Fiedler decided it was time to turn the page on 2020 and focus on the bright side of 2021. What’s brighter than the sun?

Fiedler, a technology professional with a passion for photography, created a project to capture the transformation from a dark 2020 to a lighter 2021—in the figurative and physical sense—by taking solargraphs around Morris County, including a series at Drew University.

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Every yellow wave shows the sun's arc on a given day from late March to late June.

Using analog pinhole long-exposure cameras that allow in small amounts of light continuously, the solargraphs recorded the sun’s progressively higher, longer arc across the sky each day for the 12 weeks leading up to the lightest day of the year, June’s summer solstice.

“Drew has a beautiful campus with fantastic architecture set in picturesque areas. It was exactly the kind of place I was hoping to capture in this project,” said Fiedler, who shared several images with the University.

After reaching out to Rebecca Soderholm, chair and associate professor of art, about the project and to Stephanie McCormick, director of facilities administration, about the logistics, Fiedler was encouraged to use Drew’s campus as a backdrop for highlighting a warm, welcoming, sunny 2021, even amid COVID-19 protocols in place on campus.

Fiedler was thrilled with the outcome of the solargraphs, particularly with Mead Hall, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

“Mead Halls’s Greek Revival styling, with its striking columns and facade, provide a great detailed and high-contrast balance against the smooth daily arcs of the sun above,” said Fiedler.

Take a look at some of the best solargraphs Fiedler shared.

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Asbury statue, Mead Hall

Fiedler has been invited to present his project at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts just steps away from Drew’s campus for their Discovery Family Fun Day on July 17.

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