Photograph: Drawing with light
The word was supposedly first coined by the British scientist Sir John Herschel in 1839 from the Greek words phos — genitive: phōtós — meaning “light,” and graphê meaning “drawing or writing.”
Drawing with light. Light is fascinating, and because we live and see as a fluid visual existence, a photograph allows us to see time suspended. Looking at a photograph, we see light dancing on reflective surfaces; it can control the movement of our eyes like single points of light surrounded by darkness. Let your eyes freely wander across a photograph and notice how light moves them through the compositional elements before you.
Combine light play, composition, and imagination, and you might see or feel something happen as your eye travels around the photograph. You might wonder, “What is happening on the other side of the lighted window?” Or you might feel the soft mist of the fog, or even wonder what the person in the photograph is experiencing.
This series, “Street Light,” began when I was walking the dog early every morning. At 5 a.m., the neighborhood is fairly quiet, and by 5:30 a.m. the first sounds begin — of the birds, of traffic in the distance, of the singing of an ambulance siren, or the rumble of a freight train.
It is a time of both night and day that is peaceful and hypnotic. In those moments of softness, the light of the street began speaking to me, stark and isolated, yet with a subtle beauty.
In a world where millions of photographs are made daily with the beat of life energy, we often overlook the unseen. This is what “Street Light” is about — the unseen, quiet moments as the world slips from night into day.