Losing Sight of the Milky Way

Contribute Your Memories of the Milky Way

An image of the Milky Way from a small road near Twizel, New Zealand in June 2019. Image taken in collaboration with  John Hooper

An image of the Milky Way from a small road near Twizel, New Zealand in June 2019. Image taken in collaboration with John Hooper

It is far beyond the reach of a huge proportion of the world to escape light and air pollution in order to witness a sliver of what the night sky once looked like. As these cosmic lights dim over our planet, we edge further and further away from witnessing the same emotive sky our ancestors saw. Through light and air pollution, we are slowly losing the reminders that we are on a rock, hurtling through a void, around a giant star which forms part of an incomprehensibly large galaxy. As we lose sight of this, we lose our cosmic perspective.

Having recently completed a self-directed residency at the Dark Sky Reserve in the Mackenzie Country in New Zealand, I was overwhelmed by the presence of the stars in the sky at night. I grew up under these starry Southern skies, and since moving from New Zealand at the age of 16 in 2002, have felt the lack of starlight in London as a tangible loss, and wondered how it has impacted the way we see our planet, and ourselves within the universe. It is of course, not only our perspective that is being challenged by light pollution. It is having a devastating impact on animals, birds and insects. We are inflicting an entirely new type of light and environment on these creatures that have lived by sunrise and sunset for millions of years. 

How is our changing view of the Milky Way impacting the way that we see ourselves, within the universe? Are we losing sight of our evolutionary journey, and the miraculous events that have enabled us sight and sentience to view the dark, unfathomable universe? A view of the Milky Way is an increasingly rare sight for much of the developed world, and may soon become a relic of the past for future generations.

I am interested in collecting visual, audio and written memories of people’s view of the Milky Way. Your thoughts can be as long or short as you choose. Please include the location that you saw this view. Your submissions will inform a project I am working on called ‘Losing Sight of the Milky Way’ as a new member of the London Creative Network. I will post some submissions on my website.

I will keep you updated with the progress that I am making via the email address you submit. You can also post your submission if you would prefer:

Louise Beer
Lumen Gallery
The Crypt
St John on Bethnal Green
London E2 9PA

Or email a sound recording/ video/ image:


Name *
Tell me about a memory of seeing the Milky Way.
I consent to my submission being posted on this website *