“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
"We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates" Junichi Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
It is curious that shadows seem to evoke negative connotations to so many people on one level or another.
To Hiro, shadows are at the very essence of his work and thinking and this has altered the way I perceive them.
In terms of photography, I've seen people go to great lengths to eradicate every whisper of shadow from their photographs, particularly in flat lays. I've done it myself at times, and yet I LOVE SHADOWS. Consequently, I've given in and decided to celebrate shades of umbra more than ever before. The plain truth is that I like what shadow can add to that sterile look that the mainstream seems to lap up.
Shadows are not the opposite of light. Darkness is. Shadow is the volume switch that separates the two. Light and shadow are inseparable friends and there is no sense of one without the other.
Just quickly, here are a few reasons why you should think again before banishing the shadows from your photos.
- They add dimension
- They can add atmosphere and drama to a photo.
- The are a powerful tool for creating texture.
- They sculpt a scene. Natural shadows do this in a way that may never be exactly the same again. There is something wonderful about that.
- They reveal form by making objects legible. Without shadow, things can become 2 dimensional.
- They inform the direction and quality of light.
Don't bust a gut to eradicate all shadows from your blog pics. Don't flood your photos with flat studio-like light. Go on! Give in to shadows! Play with them, explore them, let them onto your blog. If you are still unconvinced, you can just watch us frolic in them - we've started a new Instagram account dedicated to our study of shadows. Follow us HERE.
I am sorry that I've been unable to blog recently. Thank you so much for your caring and supporting messages. It really warms my heart to hear from so many of you. Thank you!
It's been a tough few weeks. You know those old fashioned mangles with which folks cranked and squeezed their washing through? Well, I feel like I've been worked through one of those.
I will be back soon to regale you with all these stories that I have whispering through the pages of my notebooks and reverberating through my head.