This blog posts details reading and viewing prompted by the course notes.
I have not yet been able to source the Christopher Doyle film “In the Mood for Love”. His words about “the beauty of artificial light on people’s faces” made me think of a snap I took of my daughter at the weekend, she sat on a huge circular stool in a dark hotel lounge, with a large diffused light right above her (below). It was late, dark, the background too busy, and I really needed a reflector to fill in the shadows. It was still a million miles better than the contingency shot I took with the camera’s onboard flash. This part of the course is changing how I look at light, which sometimes is great and at other times is very inconvenient.
Rut Blees Luxemburg’s work I found fascinating. It is so precise, and the work glows with a metallic sheen to its colours and the reflections that are contained therein. A broken samdbag shows sand with a glimmering, burnished, mineral glow . Liquid and metallic are words that come to mind. She specialises in urban work, delivered in a vast range of formats from aluminium mounted prints to huge photographs cast in concrete and mounted on the side of Westminster City Hall and even an opera. She shows a completely different side to areas that we probably wouldn’t pay that much attention to in the daylight, and works with tiny details such as reflections in tiny puddles. She uses ambient light and long exposure times. The artificiality of the light becomes her own style, she doesn’t seem to need to “correct” the light back towards daylight tones.
In an interview with Photomonitor she says:
“For me, the night suggests certain flexibility. Darkness allows for the loosening or suspension of habitual behaviour, norms and consraints, and therefore might also allow for a shift of perception.” So she’s recognising that norms change at night and that that change also allows perception to change to, for her to show the world a little differently.
I adored Sato Shintaro’s work. It was easy to view at his website (whereas I couldn’t see very much at all on Rut Blee Luxemburg’s website). Many of his images are large in scale, often panoramic, and the colour is delicate, showing aspects of Japan as almost like a model village. The night lights series shows mainly busy and cluttered alleys which are densely populated with neon signs. The images are busy, but perfectly composed. Many look like a 3D movie, and I found myself longing for a soundtrack or at the very least, an idea of what the street smelt like. There was so much exhuberance in the neon signs that the actual street lights looked rather mundane and tame by comparison.