The Eternal Light of Egypt
(Thames & Hudson, 2008) marks the culmination of 30 years of dedicated Egyptophilia for photographer Sarite Sanders. With a blunt austerity, the book’s first line informs the reader that “this is not your usual picture book about Egypt.” It’s true. The 130 black-and-white infrared photographs comprising Sanders’s collection bring to mind the documentary efforts of 18th and 19th century artists and archeologists; but the differences between Sanders’s photographs and those of her predecessors are substantial enough to say that she presents a vision of Egypt unlike anything you’ve seen before—and it’s likely that she’s done it in a way that you might never see again (in part because, earlier this year, Kodak discontinued the specialty film Sanders used to capture the teeming, aural signatures of things hovering at the lower edge of our visible light spectrum). Technology and time have transformed the way people look at ancient architecture. Sanders says she chose infrared because it could reveal the elusive, unchanging light that has pooled in the same astronomically aligned parapets and alcoves for thousands of years. “While there are plenty of beautiful color photographs out there, [infrared] had a haunting, otherworldly, and timeless quality to it,” Sanders says. “I was looking for a way to impart that timeless element to Egypt, against a landscape that I was watching become more and more manicured and constrained.”
Sarite Sanders’s photographs will be on display at the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center from November 15 until November 23, with shows and signings at 7:30pm on each Saturday and 2:30pm on each Sunday. On November 22, Sanders will be joined by Emmy award-winning Egyptologist John Anthony West for a discussion of the work; a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of fine art prints and books will be donated to Kaatsbaan. www.saritesanders.com; www.kaatsbaan.org.