Opposite my window,(Amy Lowell)
The moon cuts,
Clear and round,
Through the plum-coloured night.
She cannot light the city:
It is too bright.
It has white lamps,
And glitters coldly.
There's a reason humankind worshiped the stars and the moon. There's a reason we learned to tame fire. Not for cooking, and not for warmth—but to keep away the darkness. Some creatures are adapted to the dark; their eyes have a layer of tissue that reflects light back through their retinas, which is why their eyes seem to glow in the night. Humans lack that tapetum lucidum and must rely instead on other means to offset the darkness.
So we made gods of the celestial orbs that lighted up the night. So we learned mechanical ways to bring light to the dark—first for safety, then for comfort, and eventually for decoration. Looking at these photographs, we are aware of the long journey from assuaging our primitive fears of the dark to celebrating light for its own beauty.