Archive for March 29th, 2015

Lighting Observation: 3/24/15

My friend Justin is a photographer of very eccentric (often macabre) tastes. His latest exhibit in Calkins was themed around 1980s underground gay culture in NYC. In the room he was given, he set up what looked like a trashy apartment from the mid 1980s, complete with a Fabulous Pop Tarts CD playing on a boombox, a leopard print bed spread, bottles of cheap alcohol, milk crates, lewd magazines, and a dusty upright mirror — not to mention the photographs of meat, isolated stills of the male anatomy (some mine), and kinky toys.

Above all, what set the scene for me was the lighting: An old desk light (shown in the picture), like one my dad had at our old house, sitting on a red milk crate, illuminated the room, making everyone a little purplish. Just from the way the light hit the bed spread, and bounced off the old mirror, I could imagine what this seedy place would smell like, what the owner would sound like if he answered a phone, what his refrigerator would look like. Justin did an other-worldly job in creating this atmosphere.

(PS: I have NO clue why I am making that expression in this picture?!)

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Shadow: Gregory Crewdson


Above is a photograph by Gregory Crewdson, whose works we looked at briefly in class. Talk about a powerful image that uses shadow. Here we see this young woman scrutinizing her body in the mirror (her lover, whose feet we can just barely see on the bed — is he asleep?). The room is bathed in a cold, dull light from the window, the lamp, and some light source in the hall. And the darkest part of the photo is where the woman stands — Crewdson lit this so that she would cast a dark, amoeba-like shadow on the ground around her feet. The two reflections we see of the woman, and her body (contorted-looking, as her neck is dropped and at an angle) add a jarring quality.

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