“We are creatures of light, especially certain types of light… Clearly we weren’t made for the midday sun. We were made for twilight. For reduced light. When light is reduced the pupil opens and we can really feel it.”
– James Turrell
A photograph is a story. Every photograph tells the tale of a moment and a thousands tales beyond that moment. The best photographs are a rendering if a moment and a reflection of all moments, of all life. So how does a photograph do this? How does it tell a story? What are its tools? Well, a key tool of any photographer and any photo is light. Light, dear friends, is what it is all about. Light creates everything: it creates the mood, it creates the shade, it creates the atmosphere, it creates the sensation of time and place, it creates emotion, it can incur hope, it can incur fear, it can incur love. Light, light is the thing.
See in this image of the underground section of the Canal St Martin in Paris, see how these beams of light create the photograph, create the spectacle. There would be no photography without light. This picture shows this so explicitily by making light the focus of the image, actual life itself, fascinating.
All pictures are composed, and light is always key to that composition. Different natural lights are incredible. What we have above us is post-storm light which can be truly stunning, what is so amazing about pictures in this light is that the sky, often the brightest part of the picture, is now the darkest, so consumed is it by cloud. This gives the light that is breaking through a unique position that is hard to find in any other situation.
When it comes to unnatural light, neon is one of our greatest friends. Vintage neon signs are making a come back to bars, homes and photographs, and neon light in enclosed spaces is providing some of the most atmospheric photographs you can imagine. Neon is bold and beautiful and when used by an artist of the caliber of James Turell, quite magical.