Sunday, February 03, 2013

Reflecting on lampshades

click photo to enlarge
I've never found pendant lampshades easy. Many of them seem to be good at lighting the room but look awful, while the rest of them look fine but leave the room dimly lit. I particularly dislike those that look like the shade you'd find on a standard lamp that are designed for a pendant; they look terrible from below, all wire supports and bare bulbs. Then there are the translucent glass or plastic variety, all modernistic swirls and curls that try to be "artistic" at the expense of being functional. And as for the many contemporary takes on the chandelier, well, most of those look like they need their own power station to keep them lit, such is the number and brightness of the bulbs required.

You might think, with thoughts like those, that we have naked light bulbs hanging from the ceilings in the rooms of our house. But no, fairly early in our married life we found a design of pendant lampshade that suits us just fine. It combines simple elegance with the ability to cast light effectively and is inexpensive. More than that, however, it can composted at the end of its useful life! I refer to the plain white paper and wood (or string) globes that are sold packed flat and which are opened into a sphere before being placed around the light bulb. They first came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s and have remained on the market ever since. I know that some people think of them as hopelessly dated, but we see a minimalist beauty where others see echoes of Habitat and the 1970s.

From that you'll gather that the photograph of today's light was not taken in our house. In fact, it featured on the ceiling of somewhere that we stayed recently. It's not to my taste: far too fussy and exotic for me. But I did like the way it made light rays radiate across the ceiling, and for that it seemed worth a photograph.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 500
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On