As a rule I don’t do standard portraits. It’s not that I have strong feelings against them, they have there place of course. It’s simply that they don’t interest me greatly. I have always preferred working with light and shadow. It’s about creating shapes and outlines, creating a certain atmosphere. This applies also to many of my landscape images but is particularly true of images of people. Simply put, images where the eye cannot see everything, and one must deduce what is there from a certain shape or pattern of light, are much more interesting to me.
with landscapes I am particularly drawn to combining colour and shadow; or maybe I am drawn to sunrises and sunsets, which naturally means colour and shadow. We often think the quality of light is the same whether it is dawn of sunset. It is not. At dawn the air is much cooler and generally less dust laden.
This tends to produce more subtle colours, such as the pastel shades of sky and cloud in the above images from dawn in Fiji. The intense blood reds skies are more likely to occur at sunset, as blue light is scattered when the low sun’s rays pass through hot dusty air.
But it is the human face, and the human figure, where light and shadow are most compelling. The curves, angles and textures that we all recognise so well are most strikingly captured in stark black and white, like pen and ink drawings.
The grace and elegance of a dancer, the beauty of youth, the lined and weathered face of experience are all best painted by selective shafts of light. Photography is often considered to be painting with light; this is only half true for it is also the selective absence of light that differentiates an artistic portrayal from a passport photograph.
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