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Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Quality of Light

Thinking further on the subject, this image pointed me back to what is surely the most fundamental component of any photograph, light. Is it not the quality of the light in an image that draws the eye? Something in that one particular picture that sets the scene, the view, or the object apart from the thousands of others that the eye takes in, processes and disposes of each minute?

Rather than trying to create something new, such as when using 'Shift', here I was trying to capture the tone of the light falling from the skylight in an artist's studio in Cornwall. My Sony DSC-P72 produced this image at an equivalent F-stop of f/5.6 with an ISO-100 setting, a 1/400s exposure and +0.7 exp bias so as not to lose the interior to shadow.

The studio in question is in St. Ives (clue for those who have visited that charming town), and belonged to a sculptor, namely Barbara Hepworth. My daughter, at age 11 in 2006 when this picture was taken, had discovered an enthusiasm for sculpture, so Hepworth's studio (where she died in a fire in 1975), was a must-see. There is an excellent collection of Hepworth's work in the garden there, in what is now the Barbara Hepworth Museum.

I find this image inspiring, perhaps a latent memory of the inspiration that I felt at the time in seeing my daughter's enthusiastic reaction to the place and the sculpture. Something in the tone of the light, which is subdued, seems to me to offer a backdrop for creativity, for ideas. I made sure that the composition included the mirror, which shows a reflection of sculpting items on other surfaces in the room, but particularly the calendar on the wall, which displays 20th May, the day that Hepworth died.

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