Different Uses For Light In Photography

Light is essential in photography, and is the fundamental part of every photograph. The word “Photo” is derived from the Greek word “Phos” which means light. The word “Graph” also comes from Ancient Greek and means “To Draw”, so a photograph could be described as a drawing made from light. I have researched a few good examples of the different ways that light is used in photography, and how that creates an emotional response from the viewer.

Titled: "I Will Watch Over You" From David Gilliver's series "Orbs". His work can be found here: http://www.davidgilliverphotography.com/other-light-Drawings.html

Titled: “I Will Watch Over You” From David Gilliver’s series “Orbs”. His work can be found here: http://www.davidgilliverphotography.com/other-light-Drawings.html

Long Exposure is a technique in photography that can create some really interesting results. This image above is a good example of this technique, where the photographer would set the camera’s shutter speed so that the shutter was open for a long time, and while the shutter is open they would then use a torch or some other light emitting object to draw shapes into the image. Because the shutter is constantly open, the light is picked up and remains on the image, which allows the photographer to create amazing artificial objects such as this orb, or the ribbons in the image below. I really like these images as they’re very experimental and well executed, but also because they contain an element of mystery and make the viewer wonder how they were created.

Titled: "Rainbow Road" from David Gilliver's series "Ribbons". His work can be found here: http://www.davidgilliverphotography.com/other-light-Drawings.html

Titled: “Rainbow Road” from David Gilliver’s series “Ribbons”. His work can be found here: http://www.davidgilliverphotography.com/other-light-Drawings.html

Image from Jasper James' "City Silhouette" series which can be found here: http://www.jasperjames.co.uk/project/people-and-places-2/

Image from Jasper James’ “City Silhouette” series which can be found here: http://www.jasperjames.co.uk/project/people-and-places-2/

These images are a very interesting example of how light and shade effect images, and the use of dark areas in photographs. These images are double exposure images, where an image is taken of a silhouetted subject, and then another image is taken after and placed over the top, either in camera with film or using post production. The dark areas from the silhouette image is filled with the light areas of the cityscape image (Or the forest in the above image), because the dark areas are not as exposed, and so are exposed when the next image is taken.

Image from Jasper James' "City Silhouette" series which can be found here: http://www.jasperjames.co.uk/project/people-and-places-2/

Image from Jasper James’ “City Silhouette” series which can be found here: http://www.jasperjames.co.uk/project/people-and-places-2/

The image below by Arnold Newman, shows a good example of how light can be used in portrait photography. The natural light from a window is illuminating the subject, which highlights the smoke and the details in the chair the subject is sitting in. It creates a strong image, especially in black and white, with the subject looking mysterious due to the fog of smoke around his head.

Portrait of German Artist Max Ernst, by Arnold Newman

Portrait of German Artist Max Ernst, by Arnold Newman

This image below is a good example of how hard/harsh light can be used to illuminate features and boost the contrast of an image. This portrait of Picasso is made particularly striking due to the subject only having part of his face lit by a strong light, and only having one eye visible. It gives the feeling that the subject is a private person, and it almost hiding from the camera.

Portrait of Pablo Picasso, by Irving Penn.

Portrait of Pablo Picasso, by Irving Penn.

These images below from Johnny Lee’s series “Smashing” are an example of how light can be used in high-speed photography. An object is set up in a dark room, with a camera focused on that object. The shutter speed is then set to a few seconds, and a strobe light or strong flash is also set up. The shutter is then released and the object is broken, with the flash illuminating the object for a split second. This allows the object and the broken pieces to be captured with great detail, and avoids the need of a high speed shutter.

Image from Johnny Lee's series called "Smashing", which can be found here: http://littlegreatideas.com/photography/

Image from Johnny Lee’s series called “Smashing”, which can be found here: http://littlegreatideas.com/photography/

Image from Johnny Lee's series called "Smashing", which can be found here: http://littlegreatideas.com/photography/

Image from Johnny Lee’s series called “Smashing”, which can be found here: http://littlegreatideas.com/photography/

This work below is by an artist called James Turrell, and is an adaptation fo the camera obscura. He created a large space with a hole in the roof, which let the light from the sky enter the room below. This creates an image on the floor of the room, and allows the user to be involved in the space. He says the installations allow the public to be closer to the sky, and shows it in a very unique way.

A piece from James Turrell's work called Skyspaces, which can be found here: http://skyspace.rice.edu/

A piece from James Turrell’s work called Skyspaces, which can be found here: http://skyspace.rice.edu/

A piece from James Turrell's work called Skyspaces, which can be found here: http://skyspace.rice.edu/

A piece from James Turrell’s work called Skyspaces, which can be found here: http://skyspace.rice.edu/

 

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