Through 1890 and 1891, the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet produced a series of about 25 paintings called Stacks of Wheat, known popularly as “Monet’s Haystacks.” This series is a canonical study of light in art history, and it depicts the complex array of color, shadow and expression in light. Monet argued that it was the light and atmosphere that transformed subject matter and gave it its value and meaning.
For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.
The first consideration in photography then is light. Photographers find or create the quality, direction and color of light that produces the desired expressive effect. Read this examination of how Irving Penn used different types if light to achieve various effects in his work.
Question: What is the difference in the light and the feeling/meaning that is communicated in the two photographs above. Share your response in the discussion below.
With these concepts in mind, please read and view the following module content. This material outlines key lighting concepts and terms, and provides additional perspectives for creating and evaluating effective photographs.
The Photographer’s Vision, pp. 24 – 37; and 181 – 185
Featured Photographer: Joel Meyerowitz
Joel Meyerowitz is recognized for his pioneering use of color in fine art photography, and his book Cape Light (1978) is regarded as a classic study of color and light. Read links about the photographer and his work here. As you consider Meyerowitz’s images, pay particular attention to how he uses different types of light in his work.
Read the Featured Photographer links and research photographs by Joel Meyerowitz. Then find and add your favorite photograph by the photographer to the Dropmark photographer collection. Write a brief photographic analysis/critique explaining why it is an effective photograph. Apply the module content on critique and effective photographs in your analysis. Full Directions
Select a photographer and photograph from the gallery links below, or other sources of master photography, and explain the use of light and how it creates meaning in the image. Use specific terms from the module introduction and content in your explanation.
Go explore the light. Get away from your home or campus and create a photograph using light to express a specific intent. You must consciously select effective light with intent, so pay attention to the weather and time-of-day to find good light.
Submit the photograph to the Dropmark student collection for this class and explain the intent of your photograph and how you used light to communicate the subject of your image, using terms from the class materials and discussion. Use specific terms from the reading to describe the type and quality of light you are using. Full Directions
|Top Image: Irving Penn, Isamu Noguchi, New York, 1983