David Malin: Collector's Edition

Through the use of very long exposures taken with a telescope, Malin reveals stars and constellations too distant to be seen with the naked eye. The Witch’s Head nebula, the subject of this edition’s specially commissioned print, is 800 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Orion. As the colloquial name suggests, this heavenly duststorm has the pointed nose and crooked chin of a fairytale crone. In reality the nebula is quite blue, glowing in light reflected from the super-giant star, Rigel. The dusty formation of the witch’s silhouette is contrasted starkly with the glittering lights of the sky, in an ethereal composition that showcases the most wonderful collaboration between man and nature.

IC 2118, the Witch’s Head nebula, in Eridanus

Combining the worlds of art and science, David Malin (b.1941) revolutionized our understanding of the universe with his pioneering photographs of space, leading to the discovery of two new types of galaxies and a wide-spread appreciation of other-worldly beauty. His capturing of distant star clusters and nebulae is unsurpassed and he is the foremost photographer of galaxies on a grand scale.

The Collector's Editions

Each limited edition silver gelatin print is simply and elegantly produced and illustrates the breathtaking beauty of this phenomenon. Aside from its scientific importance, the work speaks for itself as one of the most spectacular sights ever caught on film.

David Malin, Ancient Light: A Portrait of the Universe
The finest collection of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters and other such spectacular phenomena photographed by the pioneering astronomical photographer


  • Silver gelatin print
  • Sheet size: 609 x 508 mm (24 x 20 inches)
  • Image size: 552 x 435 mm (21 3/4 x 17 inches)
  • Print folder: 630 x 530 mm (24 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches)
  • Printed in 2010 in an edition of 100 plus 5 artist's proofs
  • All copies are signed and numbered by David Malin
  • Hardback
  • 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 inches)
  • 128 pp
  • 60 black and white illustrations
  • ISBN-13: 9780714857879


  • Ancient Light brings together a unique collection of fine images of star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and other such spectacular phenomena captured on glass plates by some of the world’s finest optical telescopes.
  • Renowned astronomer David Malin outlines the history and importance of photographing the night sky, and describes how very long exposures taken with a telescope reveal stars and distant galaxies too faint to be seen by the naked eye. By studying galaxies, we learn about our origins and perhaps our destiny; the origins of the ingredients of life and the destinies of stars like the Sun and the planets associated with them. Much of our current knowledge on these subjects was gleaned from black and white photographs like those in this book, which were originally taken for scientific purposes.
  • In 1609, Galileo used the telescope to reveal a universe that was both astonishing and mysterious, changing forever the perception of our place within in. Modern telescopes uncover vast cosmic landscapes among the stars with unexpected forms and textures. To Galileo’s sense of mystery and surprise, we can today add beauty, and be sure he would have approved.

About the author

David Malin was formerly Photographic Scientist at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, New South Wales and is currently Adjunct Professor of Scientific Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Winner of the prestigious Lennart Nilsson prize, his pioneering photographs of space have revolutionized our understanding of the universe.

In the press

“I have loved the start too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
—Galileo Galilei

David Malin
"It is an art-form to be able to construct a deep image of a galaxy, cluster or a nebula in such a way that it looks natural"

David Malin is a well-known and highly respected astronomer and leader in astronomical photography. He was formerly Photographic Scientist at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, New South Wales and is currently Adjunct Professor of Scientific Photography at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. A winner of the prestigious Lennart Nilsson prize, Malin’s pioneering photographs of space have revolutionized our knowledge and understanding of the universe.

David Malin
Phaidon Press Collector's Editions

Orders & Enquiries

To place an order or request further information, contact:

Collector's Editions
Phaidon Press

Tel. +44 207843 1234
[email protected]

Enquiry Form

Submit your details below to receive an email or call back.

About Phaidon Press Collector's Editions

Collector's Editions are commissioned by and created specially for Phaidon Press.

Each comprises a special edition of a Phaidon book that is beautifully bound, individually signed and numbered, and presented in a custom-made box together with an original artwork made and also signed and numbered by the artist.