Sunday, December 28, 2014

The fall of the light

click photo to enlarge
I sometimes think that the way we appreciate photography, in fact any kind of art, can be reduced to two descriptors: "intellectually" or "viscerally", or a combination of the two. By viscerally I mean as near to emotionally as makes little difference. Moreover, I don't think we should give primacy to any of these modes of appreciation: the outcome is more important than the method.

There are those who feel that to say one appreciates or likes something for unexplainable reasons is to enjoy it in an inferior way. Others, of course, take the opposite view; that the emotional engagement and reaction is paramount and is deeper than words can express. Ultimately these "ways of seeing" are not mutually exclusive. Take today's photograph, a shot of sunlight falling through the turned balusters on to the red carpet of the stairs in our house. Due to the way the house is aligned this doesn't happen very often. However, when I saw it recently I was moved to photograph the event. Why? Largely because I had a visceral reaction to the sight. To put it into words, I enjoyed the rich red of the lit carpet glowing against the un-illuminated areas. I liked the way the balusters' shadows zig-zagged down the steps, and I appreciated the water-colour softness of the whole. It's a slight subject but none the worse for that. In photography sometimes the thing that converts the mundane to the transcendent is simply a matter of the fall of the light.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/20
ISO: 6400
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On