Interesting Uses of Light in Photography

Over our Easter break, we were given three tasks to complete in order to prepare us for out next module 152MC: Working with Light. For this task, we had to choose a minimum of 10 images showing interesting lighting and analyse them with why we find them interesting and the emotional response that we have due to the lighting. Below are the 11 images that I chose, followed by the small analytical comment.

Anthony Spencer:

Anthony Spencer

This naturally lit photograph by Anthony Spencer must have been taken in what Landscape photographers call the “Golden Hour”. “Golden Hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day (Wikipedia), and is,  in this case, were the sun is setting. I found this photograph very compelling as, although the source of light is technically covered by the focal point of the image, the bright trail of light that it is emitting works as an important leading line for the viewer. This lighting personally evokes a sense of wonderment and relaxation through the pure symbolism of sunsets. However, with the hue of this lighting being a vibrant orange, and the fact that it penetrates through the focal point, makes me feel a slight twang of danger.

Brett Harkness:

Brett Harkness

This soft, naturally lit image created by Brett Harkness could also have been taken during “Golden Hour”. I found this photograph to be very interesting as the bright lighting can be seen as taking up half of the image with the subjects found to the right and the lighting creating negative space to the left. For me, this lighting creates a sense of awe as the softness and purity of it is used, by me, to symbolise and enhance the love and happiness between the couple. This lighting is used to anchor the meaning that this image is trying to portray.

Claire Harrison:

Claire Harrison

 This artificially lit photograph taken by Claire Harrison seems to have been created through the use of a projection monitor. This photograph grabbed my attention as I thought that it was very unusual. The fact that Claire Harrison managed to create an abstract beauty photograph with it still being classed as an obvious beauty shot fascinated me. If this image was just a simple beauty shot, without the unique lighting, I would say that I felt intimidated through the pose and make-up used by the model. However, due to the fact that this lighting shows a projection of a typical landscape, the calming symbolism of the sea neutralises this sense of intimidation.

Edward Weston:

Edward Weston

The source of the natural, rim lighting within this photograph taken by Edward Weston is hard to distinguish due to the fact that the lights origin isn’t in the image. I found this photograph very interesting because instead of Edward Weston focusing on the light source to create the dynamic aspects within his image, he has referred to the lights effect: the shadows. The capturing of these curvaceous shadows that mirror the curvature of the dunes creates an eerie and almost fearful emotion that I elicit as a response.

Elliott Erwitt:

Elliot Erwitt

This photograph created by Elliott Erwitt consists of natural back lighting which creates the sharp silhouettes of the dancers that are also seen as the focal point. This photograph interested me as I was intrigued as to how this back lighting created an obvious focal point, even though there is a lot of foreground interest to distract the viewer. The sharpness of the silhouettes created by this specific lighting would normally create an edgy feeling from the viewer, however, the context of the silhouettes can be used by the viewer to create a warming emotion.

Holly Constantine:

Holly Constantine

 This is a photograph from one of my earlier projects and it was taken in the Lake District. The natural back lighting that can be found within this image was what created the darkened silhouettes of the trees found within the foreground. I may be bias, but this is one of my favourite landscape photographs as I feel that the back lighting, twinned with other aspects within the image including the slight mist in the air, creates a mystical atmosphere. This lighting also creates a calming emotion that can be produced by the viewer.

Horst Hamann:

Horst Hamann

This photograph taken by Horst Hamann consists of natural light that has been captured in such a way that it creates abstract shapes. I was interested in this photograph because the source of the light was unknown which added to the abstractness of the image. This lighting also creates contrast which is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. When I look at the lighting within this image, a wave of confusion rushes over me as I try to decipher the formation of it.

Irving Penn:

Irving Penn

This artificially lit ‘spot-light’ style portrait taken by Irving Penn highlights the central aspects of the mans face, leaving the rest to merge into a black negative space. This photographs lighting intrigued me as it can be seen as both technically and creatively successful. It is creating an obvious portrait shot that has been combined with the abstract creativity. When looking at this image, the overall emotion that I feel is intimidation and fear, but the highlighting of the face can be used to suggest peace and the negative space that of loneliness.

Joe Cornish:

Joe Cornish

First Light: A Landscape Photographer’s Art by Joe Cornish (Foreword by Charlie Waite) – scanned copy

This photograph taken by Joe Cornish uses powerful natural light to create a spotlight effect. The lighting within this image grabbed my attention as, although the viewer can see the light source highlighted through the clouds, this is not the focal point. They are attracted to the rays of light found towards the bottom of the photograph. The overall image creates a sense of danger and eeriness, but the inclusion of this light symbolises, for me, a glimmer of hope.

Max Dupain:

Max Dupain

This natural back lighting found within this image by Max Dupain creates the sharp silhouettes of the three men. I was interested in this particular lighting simply because I am intrigued by the use of silhouettes as they enable the viewer to create their own narratives without being ‘spoon-fed’ information. These sharp silhouettes can, again, be used to create a tense feeling, but the way the light has been caught by the dust creates a calming and almost mystical feel.

Stephen Eastwood:

Stephen Eastwood

This artificial lighting used by Stephen Eastwood was created by using a circular fluorescent tube. The lighting within this photograph intrigued me as its source has been included in the photograph to create a more artistic nude fashion photo. This lighting produces a calming emotion as it appears to purify this models face (the main point where the light is highlighting). The use of this circular fluorescent tube also creates a voyeuristic sense (intensified by the nudity) due to the idea of peering through a peep-hole.