Photobook library session.

  • Research and links are important.
  • Photographer to photographer, styles.
  • Evidencing of understanding.
  • What did they do before, what did they do after. Themes/direction. Style of photography in comparison to others. People who work completely opposite. Similar to other artists.
  • ‘How this book sits within a wider context’.

When looking at photobooks, explore these different elements…

  • Aesthetic use of light
  • The conceptual use of light

(Describe the light, does the light change as we progress through the work or is it consistent? Is the light used in composition? How does the light affect our reading of the image and the project? Does it draw our attention to something or create a mood? Mood or emotion? Serving a purpose for our reading?)

  • An image demonstration of the above.

(Choose an image to demonstrate and expand on your points previously made. Deconstruct the frame and the use of lighti within the frame.)

Task: You should write approximate 500 words illustrating a 4 degree connection to a body of work that interests you in it’s use/implementation of light. You should start with one of the books presented here in this session and at each degree you should understand the work before looking for connections beyond.

Edward Hopper is an American realist painter and printmaker, well known for his collection of oil paintings. He was known to have “portrayed the common place and made the ordinary poetic”. His book is filled with different collections of work that he has created all over his lifetime, changing according to the subject and the atmosphere he wishes to create, some black and white whilst others colour. His work is intended to make the viewer drawn to a feeling rather than a certain thing. There are often no harsh lines in his paintings, making his images quite soft, whereas if they were photographs the lines would be straight making a clear structure. Some of his lighthouse paintings have soft lighting, creating a relaxed environment making the images inviting and calming.

Similar to this soft lighting, Joel Meyerowitz’s photobook ‘Cape light’ contains a number of soft images. The book features how light changes throughout the day, showing the contrast of bright, harsh images where the sun is at it’s strongest and soft, low-lit images where the sun is setting. The light plays a huge part of the composition of the book, as the journey through it represents the journey through the day. The brighter images create a warm feeling and a sense of vibrancy, whereas the softer ones are calming. He uses a number of different settings, however the beach features a fair amount through the book – a pleasing visual and something the viewer can relate to.


Another photographer who used the beach as a setting for one of his images is Edward Weston. He was greatly known for his “quintessentially American, and specially Californian, approach to modern photography” with his work over his lifetime covering a great number of subjects. One particular image, focused on the beach – Oregon Coat 1939, Weston has used the natural light in his composition. The light is strong and quite harsh, creating dark heavy shadows upon the rocks whilst creating a reflection off the surface of the water. Although the light is strong, the image overall seems quite dark apart from the one section where the light is reflecting – this makes the image seem quite moody. With the image in black and white, the natural light has created a huge tonal range and some great contrasts.


Similar to this, the brilliant photographer Ansel Adams is well known for his black and white landscapes. Creator of the Zone System and founder of the group f/64, Adams has produced a great number of images using light effectively. One photobook, ‘Our National Parks’ features some of his best images of certain landscapes, with the front cover featuring a huge tonal range with the available light. Some areas are darker than others making the book moody, however the light hiding behind the clouds suggests hope and makes the book inviting. Often Ansel does not work with light in his composition and keeps it natural however when photographing water, he is known to use slow shutter speeds to capture things such as waterfalls. Allowing the light to blur the appearance of the falling water, this creates a soft texture and adds brightness to darkened surroundings.



~ by victoriasimkissphotography on May 3, 2013.

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