In a forum such as this one where people gather and connect about their shared love for photography it’s no wonder to me that there’s a running conversation about the value of light. As photographers it’s what we do. We search for light and we seek to capture any bit of it that enchants us. Sometimes it’s about replicating a feeling or documenting a moment and other times it’s about creating a new one. However you view your photography, your camera may be the brush, but it’s the light that you mix on your pallet.
Some people I know, are moved by melody; others by prose. More still, by taste, style or sense of place. Of course any combination of these in the right dose and application hold meaning for me, but nothing touches my soul like the sun. My love affair with the stuff (and consequently my roller coaster relationship with darkness) started before I ever picked up a camera, though.
Every door I walk through, the first thing I see is how the light enters the space. If I’m coming to visit you, don’t waste your time cleaning up, just draw open the blinds. The corner of a room where sunlight gets caught fascinates me, and golden glowing edges of cheekbones or jars are the things of my dreams.
I know exactly where the sun falls on my sofa at every hour during every season and nothing makes me more melancholy than august evenings when the light begins to fade and I know what lies ahead.
Scientifically it’s a thing—this need for the ultraviolet. For those of us who are afflicted, there’s a piece missing and we are at risk during winter’s shorter days. Here’s where the camera comes in for me. I’ve learned to get through those darker days by absorbing every ounce of sunlight I possibly can and drawing it up to the surface when I feel the weight bear down.
I collect the light with my camera. It exists in my computer and in print for me to inject directly into my mood as needed. I walk through days of usual and ordinary and I see things that are anything but. Light becomes a commodity and it takes on shapes and forms that can brighten even the darkest days.
I know I’m not alone in this need for light. Those of us who make photographs, we feed on it. Vitamins, light therapy, yoga, antidepressants. None ever really helped before. Who knew that a camera might be the thing that could actually do the most good?
And so, as the sun streams through my kitchen window later into the evenings now, the feeling of weightlessness is palpable. The emotional hatches, tightly battened down sometime early last fall, have been removed and I am liberated.
Do you have a favorite photograph that is all about the light? Share the link below!