When talking with people about photography, I find that some people do not think of photography as art. Their reaction is, “Anyone can take a picture” or ” I can do that myself. ” While it is true that anyone can take a quick picture, there is great difference in just taking a picture and creating an image that can be viewed as art.
When creating an image, a photographer puts just as much time and imagination into setting up the image and making sure that everything is pleasing to the eye as does any other artist. Only the tools used are different. While a painter uses brush, paint, and canvas to create their art, the photographer uses camera, film or media card, and available light to create art.
Light is what is used to create or paint the image onto the film or media card. Without light there is no image. How the light falls, the shadows it creates, and the depth of color produced help set the mood and the emotion the photographer is trying to evoke. Even though there are many ways you can manipulate an image, if the light is not right something will be missing, some spark that draws the eye and touches the emotions.
Light has a different quality depending on the time of day, the season, the area of the world or a combination of all three. Early morning light can be soft and luminous or it can be gray and misty. While the late morning and early afternoon light tends to be harsh and sometimes too bright. Late afternoon and early evening light are softer. This light highlights shape and shadow in a pleasing manner. This light can also be brooding and dark. Depending on the mood desired, a photographer can take an image of an area at different times of day or year and set a different mood. Sometimes the viewer cannot even tell they are viewing the same area.
When looking at a photographer’s work, remember that it is more than just a picture. It has taken a lot of time, effort, thought and emotion to use the light to paint the image you see. It is what they see in their mind’s eye. Their image of the world.