Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daily Practice 65/365

Title: "From reflection comes clarity"
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I was in the bathroom this morning when I noticed that the light streaming in through the window was creating an interesting geometric pattern of light and shadow in the shower stall. When I returned a few minutes later with the camera, I was disappointed to see that the pattern was less distinct and less interesting, but I made a couple of images anyway. I knew the images were not going to be particularly compelling, and I was about to move on when it struck me that I could of course manipulate the blind on the window to let in more/less light and to create different patterns in a range of contrast levels. I attribute this little insight to reading about Ruth Bernhard and her approach to teaching students. Bernhard really trained her students to observe light, how it was always changing and what affects those changes had on different subjects. Ruth herself had loved to spend many hours during the night setting up a still life and playing with the lighting to educate herself about the different ways lighting could change the mood and intent of an image. This practice also illustrates her ingenuity - she didn't use fancy lighting equipment, just very simple set ups with aluminum foil or white paper to reflect light from different angles and sides. She gained valuable insight into the effects of light working in her apartment with things as simple as lifesavers or drinking straws as a still life subject, a camera and some inexpensive lighting all in a setting that was immediately accessible to her.

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