I have recently been looking at book of drawings by Henry Cartier-Bresson, which has got me thinking about drawing in relation to photography. I recently read that Bresson used drawing to approach the subject of the female nude, which he had always felt was too sensitive for the camera. In this sense drawing allows the artists to treat the subject in a personal way. The artists may still strive to represent the figure accurately but in addition to that they can express their own sensitivity towards the subject.
Russel Crotty’s drawing of the night sky evoke a sense of awe and wonder that is often felt from the experience of looking at the night sky. It seems to me that this may have been what compelled Crotty to painstakingly render the night sky with a biro pen. His deliberate use of short marks that are given equal attention across the whole drawing indicate that he was actually looking at the whole sky and measuring it’s brightness with his eyes. In this sense he behaves a bit like a camera, which favours no part of the image over another. But Crotty isn’t interested in representing the sky as accurately a camera would. I think that he is interested in his own process of looking and perhaps he is compelled to study the sky in order to understand something about his own relationship to it. If he had simply made a photograph of the sky that he was looking at it would have cut him out of the image and his experience of looking at the sky would be unrecorded. It is this gesture that allows us to reflect on our existence within the universe.