Lighting theory.

  • SHOWstudio and Topshop Present – Nick Knight, Karlie Koss, Kate Phelan for Topshop.

A moment I liked was 2:59 and the following scenes after this.

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 21.58.28

Here, the model is being showered with water from above, with the light coming from behind her. I think this works really effectively and makes the shots really interesting as the light reflects through the water making the shots bright and sharp, whilst illuminating the model. The light also works really well with the different ways that she moves and her facial expressions. The model was positioned in front of the camera, with the water falling from above in a straight line. Behind her are number of lights lined up vertically.

lighting-diagram-1368133689 copy

Lighting theory

  • Drawing elements out of a film.
  • Thinking about how certain scenes are lit.
  • Understanding what light brings to a particular environment.
  • Philip-Lorca Dicorcia – light used as clues about the character (male prostitute) paid them to pose for photographs.


  • The Kelvin Scale (colour temperature chart).


  • Colour gels can be put over flash to change the colours of the light. Can use the clip in system in a soft box to put in a colour gel.
  • Another way to change the colours is using a reflector.
  • Chrystel Lebas – ‘Blue is obscurity becoming visible’. Shifting from the good of the day to the night. ‘Mythical’. Used a panoramic camera. Image takes several hours to expose.

Azure 11

  • Andreas Serrano – ‘Piss Christ’ 1987. Immersed objects in own bodily fluids. Controversial. The cheapening of religion, using plastic objects to represent people – didn’t intend it to cause controversy. Colour highlights purpose of picture.


  • Always have to consider shadows.
  • Tim & Sue – turn piles of rubbish into fascinating images through shadow.


  • Plato – 350 BC. A group of prisoners put in a cave from birth, whole lives in the cave shackled to walls. Could only see shadows of things/objects going past.  Life is about looking at the shadows on the wall. Plato believed the prisoners would assume this is reality –flat, colourless, no dimension. If they could experience daylight, they would recognize the limitations of what they had seen up until that point. Shadows are a metaphor for the incomplete. Limited from understanding the true nature of reality.
  • Henry Peach Robinson – ‘Fading Away’, 1858. Photographer realized his own limitations with lighting, used 5 separate frames, same scene with 5 different types of lighting.


  • Categories of light – natural, blended and artificial. Chrystel Lebas recorded night light.
  • Tom Hunter uses natural light from the window. The woman is reading – an intimate moment. Inspired by veneer paintings. Look for the lighting in a particular frame but change the meaning on the picture.


  • Erwin Olaf, reference of the window. “Grief”.


  • Rineke Dijkstra. Used hard back light, soft front light with umbrella. Took the background exposure down a stop in order to highlight the artificial light on the model.


  • Gregory Crewdson – full stage set up.
  • Over lighting something can kill off the dark, flat picture.
  • Hiroshi Sugimoto – photographed light within a film. Exposure started at the beginning and ended at the end of the film.

~ by victoriasimkissphotography on April 24, 2013.

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