Penelope Umbrico, ‘31,888,928 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 10/24/16’, 2016, Mark Moore Fine Art

Artist Statement on the SUN Series Works:

I began the project Suns from Sunsets from Flickr in 2006 when, looking for the most photographed subject, I searched the photo-sharing website Flickr and found “sunsets” to be the most present (tagged) resulting in 541,795 in 2006 hits. I thought it peculiar that the sun, the quintessential giver of life and warmth, constant in our lives, symbol of enlightenment, spirituality, eternity, all things unreachable and ephemeral, omnipotent provider of optimism and vitamin D… and so ubiquitously photographed, is now subsumed to the internet – this warm singular object made multiple in the electronic space of the web, and viewed within the cool light of the screen.

I collected those sunsets from Flickr that had the most defined suns in them, and cropped just the suns from these images. To date, I have made a total of 4500 4x6 images of suns from these sunsets, which I upload to consumer photo-labs to be printed as 4” x 6” machine c-prints. For each installation the title reflects the number of hits I get searching “sunset” on Flickr at the time of installation– for example the first installation was 541,795 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 01/23/06 in 2006; a year later: 2,303,057 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 09/25/07 - the (Partial) in the title refers to the fact that the installation is only a fragment of the number of sunsets on Flickr at that time. Examples of subsequent installation titles:

 541,795 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 01/23/06

2,303,057 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 09/25/07
3,221,717 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 03/31/08
5,911,253 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 08/03/09
7,626,056 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 07/17/10
8,730,221 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 02/20/11
10,291,373 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 01/12/12
13,806,070 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 11/01/13
18,297,350 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 04/16/14
21,314,840 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 05/14/14
27,709,969 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 05/05/15
27,694,473 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 05/11/15
30,240,577 Suns (from Sunsets) from Flickr (Partial) 03/04/16

… the title itself becoming a comment on the ever increasing use of web-based photo communities and a reflection of the collective content there. And since this number only lasts an instant, its recording is analogous to the act of photographing the sunset itself.

Perhaps part of the beauty of taking a picture of a sunset is that while you are doing it it’s likely that a million other people are doing it as well – at exactly the same time. I love this idea of collective practice, something we all engage in despite any artistic concern, knowing that there have been millions before and there will be millions after. While the intent of photographing a sunset may be to capture something ephemeral or to assert an individual subjective point of view–the result is quite the opposite - through the technology of our common cameras we experience the power of millions of synoptic views, all shared the same way, at the same moment. To claim individual authorship while photographing a sunset is to disengage from this collective practice and therefor negate a large part of why capturing a sunset is so irresistible in the first place.

Signature: Signed Verso

About Penelope Umbrico

Penelope Umbrico is best known for appropriating images on the internet from sites like Flickr and Craigslist, which she then manipulates to construct large-scale images or installations according to a minimalist aesthetic. Broken Sets (eBay) (2009–11) consists of a series of images found on eBay of broken LCD television screens; the images are cropped, turned on their side, and printed onto metallic paper, resulting in an abstract grid of images that obliquely critiques the banality of consumer culture. She has also created photographic installations from thousands of images found on Flickr of old office desks for sale, as well as sunsets which she discovered is the most photographed subject on the internet. “I use the screen grab or the crop tool the way I’d frame a picture with a camera on the street,” she has said.

American , b. 1957, Philadelphia, PA, USA, based in Brooklyn, NY, United States