The Meteorite Hunter by Alexandra Lethbridge
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the book is based on the impulse to search for the ‘other’ within the everyday. Using the notion of the Meteorite as a metaphor for the fantastical hidden with in the everyday, the body of work is a document of a hunt to locate the ethereal and sublime in the mundane and banal.
A Meteorite Hunter is a person who commits to the art of finding space rocks. It’s a search within our everyday for a glimpse of a translunary guest, a clue to something that tells us more about who we are and where we come from. The Meteorite in this way becomes a beacon, negating hunters through our landscape to find clues of celestial company. The act of searching is to thoroughly seek and pursue to find something concealed. The meteorite, in her modest way, hides reservedly in our surroundings, concealed in layers of the ground, sand, water and dirt covering her over, her exotic homeland hidden in her camouflage.
The art of archeology that then takes place expresses a need that we have to understand more than what we know and more than what we have. The job of a Meteorite Hunter is one of patience, understanding and skill. To constantly seek what you search for, to understand your aim and to pursue it forsaking all others. The search sees us sift and wade through our surroundings, constantly casting aside the fantastical that exists all around us in favour of the extraterrestrial and otherworldly.
The need to hunt, to know, to find, engages our imagination and we aim to find something outside of what we can imagine, something that mirrors the space of which we cannot visit. The journey that is documented becomes one of evidence and perspective. In the hunt for the meteorite we are faced with objects and places that question our understanding and knowing of our own surroundings. Forcing us to engage with the familiar and mundane with questioned doubt and opened perspective, we begin to see the beauty of having uncertainty about the origin of a photo, a rock, an object.
The flight of the meteorite itself can be broken down into segments. In orbiting through space the rock is a Meteoroid. Once it has been pulled into the Earth’s gravitational pull it becomes a Meteor and if it manages to travel as far as to impact with Earth and survive it becomes a Meteorite. The spaces that are reflected in both journeys act as signals. Space, to the ethereal and celestial and Earth, to the concrete and factual. The combination of the Meteorite landing on Earth from Space creates a realm where these two things interact and create a dialogue that is unusual and unexpected.
The artifacts that are collected along the way begin to cluster and multiply until you are left with a vast archive of forms which ultimately create a document of what is found here around us. This collection forces us to un-know what is familiar and therefore overlooked. By unknowing our surroundings we reconsider them and therefore engage our imaginations in our own hunt for the truth. Using these ideas, the work aims to challenge our preconceptions of our surroundings and question the parallels between our own world and our imaginations.
One of these images is in fact a meteorite that has landed from space. Part of the work is the text sections which reveal the source of the imagery and encourage participation in locating the actual meteorite in the work.
Alexandra Lethbridge (b.1987) is a photographer born in Hong Kong and based in the UK. She graduated from the University of Brighton with a Masters in Photography. Previous education has included Winchester School of Art and the International Center of Photography in New York.