Light and shadow
A juried international photography exhibition
December 17, 2015 – January 19, 2016
Creating unique effects with lights and shadows captured by a camera is, according to many, one of the most important means of photographic expression. Photographers have relied on the possibilities offered by the interplay between lights and shadows throughout the history of photography. In some cases lights and shadows are used to the effect of creating a formal compositional element; in others their role is to guide our gaze or focus our attention on specific parts of the image. The ways lights and shadows contribute to photographic meaning only depend on the imagination of the photographer.
Kip Harris: Cusco Street from Above
Pete Gardner: Southbank, London
László György Király: Shadow on Ice
Sanne Wolthaus: 5, from the series "Mute"
Michał Amerek (Podłęże, Poland), Manuel Armenis (Hamburg, Germany), Bruce Berkow (New York, NY, USA), Mikel Berradre (Osaka, Japan), Carmen Ramon Cami (Barcelona, Spain), Brian Cattelle (Delray Beach, FL, USA), Hsien-Chih Chuang (Taipei, Taiwan), Vered Eyal (Zichron Yaakov, Israel), Pete Gardner (London, UK), Paula Haapalahti (Vantaa, Finland), Kip Harris (Indian Harbour, Canada), Irena Horváth (Almere, Nederlands), Richard Hricko (Philadelphia, PA, USA), László György Király (Kecskemét, Hungary), Kiyoshi Nasu (Kawasaki, Japan), Vincent Leandro (Talent, OR USA), Siyuan Ma (Singapore), Irina Dora Magurean (Cluj Napoca, Romania), Maja Momirov (Novi Sad, Serbia), Meredith Mullins (California, USA & Paris, France), Nirvana SQ (Tepoztlan, Mexico), Stefano Paddeu (Barcelona, Spain), Beata Podwysocka (Olsztyn, Poland), Wil Scott (Annapolis, MD, USA), József Serfőző (Budapest, Hungary), Artur Sikora (Dublin, Ireland), Mikołaj Sitkiewicz (Lodz, Poland), Michael Sullivan (Madison, WI, USA), Csilla Szabó (Berlin, Germany), Zsolt Olaf Szamódy (Tatabánya, Hungary), Roland Walter (Berlin, Germany), Sanne Wolthaus (Breda, Netherlands)
Please click on the names to see contact information (website or e-mail) where available.
Light and shadow
The exciting possibilities implicit in the interplay between lights and shadows have captured the imagination of photographers ever since the dawn of photography. Black and white and colour images alike may be centred on how lights and shadows shape the meaning of the image, and our appreciation of photographs often depends on how we understand and interpret this particular aspect of the images.
The juror’s choice of this exhibition is Cusco Street from Above by Kip Harris. This exquisite image responds to a specific tradition in black and white photography in a most creative manner. The unusual perspective makes it a bit difficult for the viewer to locate herself with respect to the scene photographed. This is a feature that immediately demands attention; we would like to recognise the scene and identify the objects that populate it, as we usually expect to be able to do so when looking at photographic images. However, the perspective and the patterns emerging from the swirl of lights and shadows can easily play a trick on our perception; we may as well think, at least at first sight, that we are looking at an abstract image. Object and scene recognition does not come without making an effort. There is another powerful compositional aspect of the photograph that deserves to be mentioned, and that is the playful tension between the two distinct layers of the image. On the one hand, we can see a strict geometrical grid in the background that is shaped by the square paving stones. On the other hand, there is a dynamic swirl against this austere background. The curly shapes of the shadows on the pavement and of the slightly blurred forms of human bodies observed from above create the impression of a moving image with a restless rhythm. The contrast between the background and the energetic patterns imposed against it captures and holds our attention.
The first honourable mention is Southbank, London by Pete Gardner. It presents an interesting tension between the gently curving yellow line that dominates the photograph and the otherwise almost monochromatic image. The sharper geometrical lines of the lights and shadows are also in contrast with the soft but pronounced curve of the railing. László György Király’s Shadow on Ice is a sensitive composition with its peacefulness and contemplative depth. The light bouncing off the surface of the ice is captured in elegant tones, and this in itself deserves our attention and appreciation. The lines of the mysterious shadows, however, powerfully turn our contemplation into an active observation. The third honourable mention is 5, from the series "Mute" by Sanne Wolthaus. Wolthaus’ photograph gives us little to recognize but plenty to observe. The composition is shaped purely by lights and shadows, and the resulting image is simple and complex at the same time. Simple as a whole and complex in its rich details of shades and shapes.
Le Corbusier's Studio Paris by Bruce Berkow captures a square-shaped spot of light on the floor as if it were fallen under its own heavy weight. Hsien-Chih Chuang’s Light and line may seem monotonous at first, the two glitch-like disruptions, however, complicate the uneventful repetitiveness of the parallel lines. Paula Haapalahti’s The Last Rays No. 3 presents an almost unearthly scene with the animal figure distorted by the sharp light while its shadow is stretching beyond the boundaries of the image. Richard Hricko’s Straw I is an exciting composition created by intertwining lights and shadows. The Old Lamp No. 1 by Kiyoshi Nasu focuses on the light source itself and how it redefines the space around it. Late Lunch by Vincent Leandro is a strong composition of chairs situated at the opposite margins of the image but still connected by their stretching shadows. Meredith Mullins’ Tango gains it strong dynamism not only from the dancing pair but also from the parallel dance of their shadows. Arwen, Adria, 2013 by Zsolt Olaf Szamódy turns the shadows and the patterns emerging from the different shades of blue waves into a dreamlike impression.
Photographers can find endless possibilities in the interplay between lights and shadows. The images selected for this exhibition are truly captivating and demonstrate the rich and diverse potential offered by the theme.