When the subject is light … itself


Photography, the word, means writing with light … what happens when the writing is about light itself: natural or artificial, filtered, modulated or reflected?

I think it is about the setting of a certain mood, photographically speaking, through exposure control, through tonal contrast and gradation, etc. that mood can be neutral, mysterious, dramatic, playful and/or artful at the same time.

From a fire in the sky to a caressing night light.

That is the order of presentation and discussion of the seven images of this post.


Where is the fire?

cosmic origin of light
Of a fire in the sky

Of-course the sun is where it is, a cosmic ball of fire the light of which, when filtered through atmospheric phenomena such as clouds combined with the angle at which it traverses them, will produce the dramatic effect of a distant fire, smoke and all!

Spring afternoon back lighting

A moody black and white photo of houses and trees to show effect of back lighting.
Spring afternoon back lighting

The crispness of the air is reflected in the jagged backlit building roof line against a cool afternoon clear sky, the light of which is brought down so to speak, by reflective roof edges and street lights, to be picked up eventually by the shiny plants.

Venetian blind filtered light

Effect of filtered light
Venetian blind filtered light

The shadows of the blind blades have been allowed to playfully run across a loosely draped material revealing each fold and crease in an almost liquid dance-like manner.

Snow-covered yard under spot lights

Effect of spot lights on snow covered ground
Snow-covered yard under spot lights

The undulating surface of the spot-lit snow cover gives it a cotton like ethereal appearance, out of which trees, fences and building columns seem to sprout.

Direct and reflected light through a window

Effect of reflected light on glass surface
Direct and reflected light on window

When coming through, or being reflected by a pane of glass, light will produce a superposition of images that will include exterior items such as buildings, trees or the headlights of a passing car, and interior items such as kitchen equipment and the photographer … note the spot-lit touch of blue of the Turkish coffee maker … all in an artful out of focus.

The light catching water filled bowl

Effect of light on surface and content of water filled bowl
Light catching water in a bowl

Standing water is always horizontal even when its container is sloped as in this case . The shiny circular edge of the standing water, the immersed spoon and its shadow, and the reflection of the wall mounted neon light, all produce an accidentally playful visual ballet of overlapping shapes

Caress of the night light

feather-lit of chair back at night
Caress of the night light

In the 5-am darkness of my living room I catch shiny spots on the back support of the rocking chair and the edges of a bookcase, the rest of these appearing to be caressed by the soft night light … underexposure allows it all to come out of the surrounding darkness.


End words

When I said Bye-Bye to 2020 in a previous post, I ended it intuitively, in a close-up photo of a candle flame with the caption “there will still be light” … it seems I tried to show this, here, in those images.


(All images by Maurice Amiel)

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