Why is my passion to comprehend 'Light' so integral to my photographic evolution?
Well, it’s because light is the essential element at play in all my imagery. It would be safe to say that my work is one continuous journey, a consuming quest and a driving desire to seek and capture light, evocative light as it illuminates any given subject from all over this planet.
Some would call travelling the world in pursuit of light a wild obsession of which I’m inclined to agree. An obsession that spans several decades as I continue to gain an understanding and appreciation of the mechanics and nuances of this phenomena we call ‘light’. These adventures in light take me all over the world; from shooting the first rays of light at Waimea Bay shore break in Hawaii to surfers in wetsuits on location in Iceland.
This intimate knowledge is the difference between a professional photographer and someone who might aspire to be. In the current and highly competitive climate of professional photography, an understanding of light and how to use it to your best advantage is one of the most relevant qualities to possess. Knowing how to control and manipulate this light in order to evoke an emotional response from the viewer is paramount, practically when photographing the human form. In no other genre of photography is the understanding of light and it’s emotional potential more relevant.
When photographing models, it’s easy to get a beautiful image merely by documenting the fact that the model is beautiful. The quality of point-n-shoot cameras today easily allows the average photographer an opportunity to take these shots. But to create exceptional imagery that exudes not only the divine beauty of the model coupled with technical excellence and a unique signature look, requires a deeper understanding of light. Along with that understanding comes an increased ability not only to problem solve but more importantly to control the resultant visual emotional outcome.
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
I see my colleagues nodding their head in agreement. Yes, the evolution of photography and the great advances in cameras has bestowed upon the general public the ability to get technically satisfactory images with relative ease.
This combined with the rise of social media has led to a saturation of imagery. I refer specifically to fashion and swimwear. There is a mountainous difference between the images produced by those who take photos and the likes of professional photographers who create and contribute quality and value to a brand, label and/or product.
Social media is saturated with beautiful models shot in a provocative manner, quite often the image is lacking in any photographic integrity or technique. The public has become somewhat sadly confused as to what constitutes really good photography. Fortunately it's not the number of ‘likes’ or followers that reflect one’s quality of photography. ‘It’ has indeed elevated some people who take photos into thinking they are professional photographers in lieu of their social media numbers and then romancing a prospective client with these social media stats.
Understanding light is one of the most important elements that separate photographers into different categories. You either know light or you don’t, and I have made knowing light as the basis to my photography. It is the make-up of light that ultimately illuminates the subject and thus that light, and how I interpret it, will determine the viewer’s emotional response to my photograph.
Light comes in all different shapes, sizes, intensities and forms. In technical speak, light can only be reflected, refracted or absorbed. My attention is focused on the reflected wavelengths of light that will bounce back through my lens and on to the camera sensor. It is my sole responsibility to understand this dynamic and how it influences the journey of these light waves. Without an intimate working knowledge and understanding of this precious element, photography becomes but just a picture.
It is after years of observing the mechanics of light falling onto subjects and objects that my understanding of this element has evolved. I get excited when I see moments of beautiful light, opportunities just waiting to be captured, where everything that’s illuminated looks amazing, so amazing it could take your breath away.
Early morning and late evening present some of the finest moments in natural lighting situations, the sun being the source of light and how it sits low in its angle of incidence. With a warm glow the world looks beautiful, people look healthy and light is far more forgiving, bringing out subtle textures and shape. Through this soft light we begin influencing our visual experience and emotional interpretation of the subject. Sharp light, hard light, soft light, reflected light and diffused light are effectively my medium, just as paint is to an artist.
A professional photographer is aware of all forms of light from naturally occurring light, or the manufactured situation of adding our own light, or multiple lights and in turn manipulate those sources of light with reflectors, diffusers and even subtract light. Anyone who has studied the subject will have a good basis to start from and the rest is a journey of observation, patience and discovery. It is through this complex understanding of light that shape is formed by the different tonal graduations between highlights and shadows, and achieving the detail in the shadows.
This instinctual knowledge and respect of light needs to be second nature before one could call themselves photographers. Being able to rock-up on set or on location daily and successfully solve the problems that each assignment presents requires experience, knowledge and passion for your craft. At this level I am no longer just adding light to have enough exposure to record an image, I am consciously creating shapes, textures, tones and depth, moods and feelings designed to evoke the emotions I desire to communicate.
This exhibition has been created to give you an insight into my motivations and expertise of why, what and how I take photos. A collection of images expressing light, beautiful sensual light, morning light, moon light, intense light, reflective light, beautiful wondrous light – all to inspire and reward those who appreciate art, creativity and photography.
Thank You to the models, swimwear labels and pro cameras & gear:
- Tahalia + Gypsea + Jayde + Tamryn + Anastasia + Evelyn + Lexi + Mari + Nikki
- Kiss Max + Mikoh + Tacoola
- NIKON + LEICA S + MANFROTTO + AQUATECH
Links to all of the above mentioned will be featured on my Instagram, Facebook & Twitter feeds.
This, and many more photography features are coming your way. So if you've found this information interesting and like my photography then feel free to share this blog with your friends.
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