Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.
There’s something at once lighthearted and sad about Benoit Paillé‘s photographs in the series Jour du Déménagement (translates from French as “Moving Day”). Discarded furniture, boxes, mattresses and other household items sit in piles waiting to be picked up by the garbage truck. The photographs are taken in the dark, seemingly in the middle of the night, and the trash lit by a single bulb. Little attention is paid to garbage on the curb; at night while everyone is sleeping it’s completely forgotten. Regardless, items we’ve lived with often for years quietly sit there all night. The scene is reminiscent of food in the refrigerator, and wondering what happens when the door closes and the light goes out.
From Futura Standard to Helvetica Neue, designer Aleksi Hautamaki refits vintage neon letters, previously destined for the bin, with a touch of LED lighting to resuscitate their glow for another 10 years.
Character, his company, sells each piece to the public, intending to cultivate a “second life cycle” capable of creating “new value for everybody involved.”
Likewise, portrayed here in a series of artful photographs, each previously abandoned bit of font now haunts the city, with a fresh sense of freedom, searching for a new artful context, home, or environment outside its previous life in advertising.
Spanish Photographer Andres Medina has a knack for creating beauty with very little. There’s really not too much action in a lot of his photographs. Somehow, though, he frames such emptiness with beautiful lighting and technique in a way that amplifies the emptiness of the world in a really appealing way. Some of Medina’s best stuff is taken at night. You can almost feel the moist, cold air in his night photos, and your ears prick up as you are drawn into their silent world. The pictures celebrate our passive surroundings, as the lack of animated subject matter minimizes distraction. Some things are centered around such an internalized power source that you have to black out the rest of the world just to notice them.
Toronto artist Matt Bahen creates thick oil paintings of desolate scenery and, often, dogs. Tweaked just right, the lighting in Bahen’s work almost renders itself the subject in each respective canvas, creating a sense that the elements most “alive” in his world are not, in fact, animate. Scavenging dogs and dying foliage or crops are often the only living organisms depicted in Bahen’s most recent work. And though a veritable source of action, these elements often serve more as secondary, blended, narrative connections than primary statements. In keeping with the aesthetics of B/D, this body of work presents a perfect opportunity to draw as much life from the dead as from the living. Bahen is currently showing at LE Gallery in Toronto in a solo exhibition entitled “After Wolves.” If you’re up that way, do not miss out.