10 Interesting Uses of Light

Lighting in photography and the visual media can be used in a range of ways, to convey different moods and atmospheres, to make photographs dramatic or impactful, as well as making the subject clear to the viewer. For this module I am working with light and so I am looking at different lighting techniques and uses to see the effect they have.

229007-7Wrath by Ricardo Bento

I found this photograph visually interesting and very striking; lighting has been used to add drama to the whole image. The light is directed onto the body of the woman creating a shadow of her shape and form onto the background of the playing card. At first the lighting on the body creates an almost vulnerable state to the women, showing her naked body; however her strong stance and the shadow formation says otherwise, the shadow created is striking and shows the woman stabbing into the heart, showing strength and a more sinister side to the photograph. If it were not for this lighting in this exact position, the shadow would not be formed in the correct place and would not show the woman stabbing the heart; the lighting highlights the message of the image and makes the understanding of the image easier. The lighting allows the shadow to interact with the background making the photograph more impacting overall. In my own work I could recreate images like this by setting up the lighting behind my subject, and placing it in the precise location so that it falls perfectly onto the background, creating a similar striking image as this.

916842-7Kamaleón by Juan Calle

The lighting in this photograph is very direct and clear, it illuminates the pepper, showing its bold shape, texture and colour. The lighting I feel is directed from each side but on a downwards angle above the vegetable, this allows the shape to be seen clearly, and shows the lines and shadows well; the shadows created by the light make the photograph 3D and realistic and not flat or dull. The lighting also illuminates the beautiful colours showing them in a true and bold way, making the whole photograph very eye catching and striking for the viewer. This photograph would be quite easy to recreate or create something similar by placing the lighting at a slight angle above the object at each side, then using spotlight lighting so that it illuminates the object but the background behind it is in darkness, using a black background would help this effect.

211329-7The lost by Javier Guerrero

This photograph is very striking and bold; the lighting is directed onto the model, pulling him out from the darkness. The lack of clothing and facial expression could be seen as quite vulnerable, he cannot hide in the darkness, the light is highlighting him to the world; however due to the lighting, the models body shape and form are highlighted by shadows, showing his muscle which tell the viewer about his physical strength. A spotlight has been used for this photography, meaning that the model is highlighted and little of the background can be seen, the use of the spotlighting emphasises this idea of pulling the model out of the darkness as well as creating a subtle vignette, meaning that the light slowly fades into the darkness on the model and background, further emphasising the idea of coming out of the darkness.

760797-7Moonlight through clouds by Pedro Abreu

I feel that this photograph is very mysterious and dramatic due to the use of lighting; the only light sources in the photograph come from the streetlight, the building’s lights and the moonlight, meaning that most of the photograph is cast into darkness, with only hints of the surroundings being clear. The streetlight and the moonlight echo each other in shape, making it mysterious as if it were not for the position, the streetlight could be mistaken for the moon. The light from the moon highlights the cloud formation and structure, adding interest to the photograph. I feel that overall the use of low and little lighting creates a very dramatic photograph that makes the viewer think, they can make up their own visual image of what the surroundings would look like, adding to this idea of mystery and that anything could be in the darkness. This kind of photograph would be interesting to recreate, by going out at night and just using the streetlights and lights from buildings as your light source, you would get interesting outcomes and the low lighting would highlight different objects partially, giving clues to the surroundings but also still leaving it a bit of a mystery for the viewer to interpret as they want.

698710-7Dustbowl Dusk 2 by Henry Clayton

I love this photograph and the use of natural lighting; the light source is the sun and it highlights the foreground in an interesting way, showing the texture of the land as well as the body forms of the people. The light from the sun breaks through the trees and creates beams of light onto the setting below; I love this effect of including the light source of the sun into the photograph, furthermore the sun light from behind the people means that they are silhouetted in the foreground. By having these people silhouetted, their identities are hidden, I feel this makes the photography quite mysterious, with the mystical lighting and the dark figures, the viewer is transported into a mystical and mysterious world of the unknown. This idea of mystery is further empathised by the bright lighting from the sun in the mid-ground, meaning that the setting is almost over exposed and makes the location unclear and a bit more mysterious as it where it is. I could use natural lighting from the sun to create silhouettes in my own work by making sure the sun is behind my subject.

1004377-7Searching Light by Knud Ole

To me this photograph is very vulnerable and unusual; the lighting used highlights the male form however it is distorting the shape and form of the part of body that can be seen, making it seem supernatural and a bit weird. The body shape isn’t right and the fact that the model is naked makes the person seem more vulnerable; this is emphasised by the lighting, it is very bright, so much so that nothing can be hidden making the model’s body clear to the viewer. For this photograph I think there is a strong back lighting, which is so bold it partially distorts the body shape, however there is also a softer light source from the front as some detail of the figure can be seen, which would usually have been silhouetted by the bright light if it was on its own.

712624-7**Allegory of light **01 by Elena Vitaliy Vasilievy

This photograph is very dramatic, the lighting used partially highlights the body shape and form to the viewer, making it clear that it is a woman; however the lighting used is not so bright that the whole body shape and form is clear. Most of the body is cast into shadow, making it mysterious; the woman seems to have the power in this photograph, she is confident as most of her body is hidden by shadow and this power is emphasised by her body position, it is very open and bold. I feel that the lighting used makes this photograph more beautiful and creative, giving the viewer clues to the body shape of the woman but also shows beautiful lines and shapes on the skin of the woman. The skin in very smooth and this is emphasised by the lighting, whereas the smoke behind is more contrasting and rough, this adds interest to the photograph. I feel that the lighting is set partially behind at both sides but cast from mainly the right of the model, this creates a more silhouetting effect on the front of her body, but some detail is clear towards the right of her.

677170-7South Brooklyn, 2007 by Anton Trofymov

This photograph is very beautiful, using subtle natural lighting from the sun as the light source; the lighting highlights the end of the tunnel, leading the viewers’ eyes into the photograph and to the centre where the tunnel leads. By having the lighting like this, the edges of the photograph and the closest part of the tunnel are much darker and as you get closer to the centre the tunnel gets lighter; the photograph leads the viewer into the image and into the unknown. It makes the viewer think about what could be at the end of the tunnel, making the photograph quite mysterious. I could use light in my own work to lead the viewer’s eye in a specific direction or to highlight something clearly.

761188-7Shadows on the balcony by Pedro Abreu

This photograph shows unusual lighting; the light from the sun passing through possibly trees, creates a beautiful pattern and texture on the building, making the image bold and unusual. The combination of the patterned shadows and the building create a visually exciting and interesting photograph, at first the viewer notices the shadows, then on closer inspection you can see the building behind. To me I feel this is showing the idea of how nature and man live together and that they will always be linked, connected and surrounded by each other. I would love to experiment with different items to create unusual shadows with different textures and patterns.

934559-7Cuban Barber Shop, Old Havana, Cuba by Paul Cooklin

To me this photograph is beautiful, the lighting from the building draws the viewers’ eyes into the image and to the centre and main focus of the two subjects. The harsh bold lighting in the building contrasts with the softer lighting outside, however the detail of the outside is still clear, the lighting shows enough detail and gives the location personality and shows what’s happening inside the building. In my own work I could use this idea of bold light to show a scene inside a building, while the rest of the outside is subtly lit either by my own lighting or the use of streetlights.


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