Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Week 64: How to compliment II.

This is obviously the second instalment of my complimenting experiment. Two forms of lighting, and a similar set up. Photography is studying light. However a photograph is on the periphery of seeing real light. It stands back and let's you decide how to view the light that is captured by what Berger would call "a mechanical eye."


Much like a previous project involving the doorway being an analogy for the shutter of a camera, I have been assessing the frame that is created by light. In staged and constructed images you have complete control over what the audience will see and what the audience will miss out on. Christian Metz speaks about this kind of "off-framing" in his essay "Photography and Fetish" where he compares the moving image (Film) with the still (photography).

"The filmic off-frame space is ├ętoffe, let us say "substantial," whereas the photographic off-frame space is "subtle." In film there is a plurality of successive frames, of camera movements, and character movements, so that a person or an object which is off-frame in a given moment may appear inside the frame the moment after, then disappear again, and so on, according to the principle (I purposely exaggerate) of the turnstile."

He explains that the plurality of film allows the director to have more leeway with what he can or can't show. With photography it is final, whatever is cut out of the image is none existent to the audience, they can assume, but apart from assumptions everything outside the frame is frame-dead. However, I've decided there is a number of flaws to his point. Lighting that is outside the image can easily be figured out by a keen eye. Also, reflections of what is cropped out are visually existent but are not physically existent within the crop. For example, the catch-light in the eye of a studio model.

This photograph is showing the relationship between perception and light. Specifically constructed light situations are given to compliment in different manners. My advice (and that's all it is) to anyone that wants to experiment with light is simple. Time has to be taken, slow it down, move the lighting until the ambience is perfect, be picky, for God's sake meter it and note the reading down. The image is similar but the ambience is completely different. In this photograph, you can really make out the skeletal construction of the corset. The softness of the face contrasts really well with the simple harshness of the outfit. I genuinely believe that "photographers" need to understand how light actually works because that is literally what you are studying. The bare physics of it. I'm learning stuff everyday that surprises me, it's nothing abstract at all. The mood and emotional perception of a photograph is dependent on the physics of light, there are equations for these concepts.

Song listening to right now: Mother - Pink Floyd

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