Shine a light

Some songs have got deep roots, the rock critic Greil Marcus once wrote of Bob Dylan. In particular, Marcus was writing about the music Dylan made in the late sixties in his basement with The Band. The other quote I remember from this writing was that the songs were as comfy as old slippers, as sharp as razor wire. Back to the point though, some ideas for me in photography have deeper roots than others, and I feel them rise to the surface time and again. More and more over the last six months, I’ve been figuring out the cleanest way I can rid a face of shadows in a portrait. It brings to mind the brilliant series of photographs Richard Avedon made in the early eighties which came to be known as The American West. Avedon didn’t want evidence of lights, or the angle of the sun on his faces, rather he wanted the light to appear as if it came from within, or from a source as mysterious as the people he photographed.

I make no great claim for my own images, but I do share the desire to keep the light even and clean, and also suggest the sense of an internal glow. Perhaps this is just because I have spent so much time photographing children recently, and the glow I want relates to my subjects’ lack of years. Most of my recent work has been outdoors, but a happy collision of my aim and my possibilities has occurred. Our shed has recently been converted for my wife to use. The new perspex roof diffuses the light beautifully. I sense many more pictures to come in there over the coming months.

 

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