Thursday, January 1, 2009

Light is all around

Thoughts on New Year's day

Photography is about seeing the light, the way the Grand Masters see it and it is what separates the great legends from the rest of us. Light or the lack there of is what stops us dead in our track and makes us take two steps back and take a lingering look at a photograph hanging on a wall. To me, colors are just a facade - the "extras". Peel away the colors, if a photograph is truly special, the light that grabs our attention initially should still be there.

I am convinced if the modern day photographer can master the subject of light and use light to convey her message just the way she intends it to, she truly has a special gift. It is that gift I so wish for, it is my only goal in the quest to be a better photographer. So very often, we snap away without spending time to compose the image, to think of the message and why we are there in the first place. We hope by snapping a few dozen shots of the same scene, one will turn out good enough and our effort will not be in vain. That is where we are all mistaken. The most valuable lesson I learned from my photography teacher was a sentence she uttered one day in class: "Timeless photos are composed, and they are often a result of a great deal of planning and thinking, in setting up the shot and the placement of light." Ask any accomplished photographer and they will tell you this cannot be more true.

The more I do photography, the more I realize I need to go back and re-learn the basics. I told myself that until I can wrap my head completely around the subject of light, I have barely just begun. That is the story of photography - It is simply a story of light and light is all around. Can you see it?

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs
by Ansel Adams

Each of Adams 40 photographs presented here is accompanied by an engaging narrative that explores the technical and aesthetic problems presented by the subject and includes reminiscences of the places and people involved."

Ansel Adam (1902-1984) made over 40,000 photographs. His mastery on the subject and his medium are well chronicled in three much sought after books: "The Camera", and "The Negative" and "The Print"

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