Experimenting with light

Experimenting with light

Experimenting with light is in essence what every photographer is doing even without knowing.

Experimenting with light

The Oxford reference dictionary explains why photography is about experimenting with light:

Etymology of ‘photography’

“From photos (ϕοτοσ), light, and graphos (γραοσ), writing, delineation, or painting. Although ‘heliography’, ‘photogeny’, and ‘daguerreotypy’, were first used as alternatives, ‘photography’ eventually gained universal precedence as the preferred name. … From:  ‘photography’, etymology of  in  The Oxford Companion to the Photograph »

Experimenting with light
Experimenting with light

This post is the revival of a 2017 post I wrote as part of the late and much regretted Friday photo challenge when its theme was experimental and Krista let us choose what we wanted.

I then opted for an experiment of mine at the former St Vincent de Paul hospital (aka “grands voisins” which has now disappeared and been replaced with a real estate development; sigh…) In the basement of one of the former hospital buildings there used to be a surgical block.

The fourth eye

Christopher, a rather nice and excentric American guy, was our host. He is the fourth eye of the “4ème oeil” photo artists foursome. He is the one stepping on the roll of paper. Behind him was Christophe, a — no less excentric — French photographer who had hired the studio too.

I had decided to go there to experiment with portraits. I have neither enough space nor kit to do that at my office.

Experimenting with light The entrance to the “studio”. I was hoping they would keep this with the new building so as to be able to hire the place for a shooting. I haven’t checked but I’m pretty sure they didn’t. Experimenting with lightThere were no models, I had to take pictures of Christopher and Christophe all the time. We had fun experimenting with the elaborate lighting kits. All forms of lighting were available there. Here with a snoot coming from the right hand side (of the picture). Experimenting with lightHarsher lighting made for interesting experiments. Not sure I would keep this one if it weren’t for this blog post. Experimenting with light

Blinded by the light

Here I experimented again when Christophe was carrying one of the lights and I pressed the shutter button without thinking that I was going to blind him for a second. I was really sorry about that, but it made for a nice picture. The lighting kit was so brisk you can’t see him shut his eyes on the picture. I tried to shoot with my electronic flash afterwards, and even though it’s one of the nicest and priciest Nikons, the result was unusable. Experimenting with light A strange contraption — a light meter — used by Chris for measuring light. Notice the nice grey background with weird lines entirely drawn by the light. I deliberately refrained to crop that picture so that one would see how Chris was holding the reflector in order to lighten his own face. The result is much more balanced but I don’t like it at all.

Air guitar

Facetious Chris played air guitar while I was shooting. The flash light was so quick no trace of movement is visible even though I was at a low speed. Chris horsing around at full speed showing stroboscopic effects at low speed on a black background. Uncropped for the exact same reason. Christophe was also very facetious. I think the light is very well balanced here even though all this is the result of experimenting with light and I’m not even sure what it was I wanted to achieve. There are many more pictures in that series, which you can display on Flickr.

Yann Gourvennec
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