Sunday, October 01, 2006

Night Photography

When I began photography I did not like the idea of having to stop taking pictures because the sun had set. I had taken occasional photographs of windows at night and other urban scenes lit by ambient light.

During the summer of 1977 I began the Nightwork series. I had been doing multiple printing for 7 years and I wanted a method of visualizing altered images where the entire alteration process could take place in the camera. This also solved my problem of not wanting to stop taking pictures because the sun had set.

I like working in the dark. The camera sees a blank space until I light it. The angle, brightness and color of the light is carefully thought out. Each element chosen to be lit gets it’s own unique multiple lighting combination.

The camera process consists of a combination of two techniques pioneered by Gary Ruble in the early 1970s. The first technique is to make a time exposure with the lens aperture set for maximum depth of field in a dark space. The second technique is a lighting technique. Ruble uses a 2000-watt quartz spotlight, I use small hand held variable power Sunpak and Vivitar flash units set on minimum power. While the shutter is open I walk into the visual space and light the space in very small segments popping the flash muultiple times, sometimes 100 times or more.

More great night photography

Michelle Keim
Lance Keimig
Arthur Ollman

all rights reserved © 2006 Paul Light


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