Thursday Salute to Originals: Cosmic Slicks

Cosmic photography captures celestial light from an unexpected source.

In a series of galactic-themed photographs, Finnish photographer Juha Tanhua captures what looks like glittering scenes of starlight, nebulas, and galaxies spread speckled across a black backdrop.

The twist? Rather than looking upward to the night sky to capture these celestial photographs, Tanhua points his camera down — down into the slick abyss of parking lot oil spills.

“It’s not space above us; it’s space under our feet. You can find subjects to photograph even in dull places like parking lots. Expect nothing, get everything,” said Tanhua in an interview with This is Colossal.

In a mundane and earth-bound formula, water and gasoline leaks mix on concrete to make a shimmering puddle of space-y patterns. With a simple under-exposure technique, Tanhua then transforms the images into night sky scenes.

This Thursday, we’re saluting the ingenuity of Juha Tanhua’s concrete photography. You can view more of Tanhua’s photographic experiments and broader portfolio, including work featured in the Finnish National Gallery and Lahti Art Museum, on the photographer’s website.

Sources: Juha Tanhua, This is Colossal