Monday, August 26, 2013

Stardust [Sergio Albiac]

If you have known me for longer than 10 minutes, you probably know that I have a bit of an affinity for all things constellation and celestial. (This is not to be confused with bigger ideas of space and the Universe, which despite being fascinating, by-and-large scare the hay-zeus out of me -- INFINITE SPACE whhaaaa? No thank you.) However, I realized that save for a brief mention of my constellation crush, Orion, in this post, I've never actually talked about it here.

That changes now!

First, though, I want to say that one of my favorite things about the internet today is how artists and creatives of various sorts have found interesting ways to collaborate with others, specifically: me and you and everyone commonplace. I went into great detail about my excitement (and involvement) with Foster Huntington's The Burning House, which was my first foray into these online (and free) collaborative efforts. When opportunities like this arise, I'm finding it impossible not to join the legions of others who want to be part of it.

This brings me to the Stardust Project by Sergio Albiac, who (to sum it up) created an imaging program that takes pictures submitted by internet users (those "commonplace" folk I mentioned above) and generates unique portraits using a mosaic-smattering of nebulae images taken from the Hubble. He'll provide you with three different portraits, and they'll also be posted with the thousands of others on his Flickr.

I honestly can't remember how I found out about this project (it was just over a month ago), but you can bet that it took me about .73 seconds to start hunting for a picture to submit.

For the record, finding an image for this was tough for me (*white whine*). I don't have a lot of simple front-facing ones where I'm not wearing sunglasses, or someone isn't in the image with me, or I don't look totally dreadful. Sergio's instructions say that (for the most part) you have only one shot at this, and what you get -- you get.

And most of them, by Jove, are simply stunning.

There is an incredible variety, some with clear faces, and others that look decidedly more like, well... bursts of stardust.

All of the images become clearer when you view them smaller (or squint), which I find particularly fun. Personally, I like the photos where the clarity is a little in-between: the face is not too clearly defined, but the contrast features of the face are still visible.

Naturally, when you're submitting your photo, there's no way to know whether you picked one that will turn out "well" or how you want; the randomness of it, though, is rather exciting, I think. Sergio recommended using something with good contrast, so I kept that in mind.

I decided to use this photo, mainly because of the lines of my and the contrast between my British-white skin and dark hair/background.

I spent a bunch of time looking for the right image, and even though this one wasn't front-facing, it still beat out all the other options, because I didn't want something where my teeth were showing. (This was taken NYE '09/'10, back when I was much thinner.) I bit the bullet and loaded it to Google Drive for Sergio.

Then, I waited.

Then I completely forgot about it.

Turns out Sergio's turnaround time is only about 2-3 days, but I didn't think to check it until almost 3 weeks later. I'm astonished that he can create so many incredible photographs (despite the help of a computer program) and get hundreds of them loaded and sent out nearly every day. I submitted my photo back on the 25th of July, and they were loaded onto his Flickr on the 27th. I had to scroll back 89 pages to find the actual links to my photos.

my Stardust Portraits 3009, 3010, 3011

These are certainly not as clear as I would have liked, but I think they're still really pretty and fun, and you can definitely make out the shape of my face. Without question, the middle one is my favorite!

I encourage everyone to do this, even just for the novelty of having a favorite personal photo "nebulafied." If you do it (or, by chance, have done it), send me or post a link in the comments so I can see how yours turned out!

Happy Monday, everyone!

** all images (except for the untouched photo of me) are property of Sergio Albiac, with links to individual photos available below each one


  1. Bad. Ass. That is ridiculously cool. Definitely need to find a photo to submit! Lovely to read as always, my dear.