Saturday, August 21, 2010

Night photography- Night from a nocturnal point of view

"I often think that the night is more alive and richly colored than the day"- Vincent Van Gogh

So I was recently trying to discover what is it that led me to specialising in night photography in the first place and why I find it fascinating- also why other photographers do.
I only recently remembered and realised why. When loadshedding became "mainstream" in Pakistan 3 years ago I used to go for a walk everytime lights would go out, occasionally with my camera and then later joined by a tripod. When there are no street or house lights, you can only then notice the unusual play of light that moonlight and star light have everywhere. Then you notice a color palette being created when you see lanterns, fireflies, candles and other sources of light coming into the scene. So I played with that on long exposure and open aperture. It made me see so much in a dark that it was a way of opening my mind.
While dark is often associated with danger and evil, because of the psychological connection of night's all encompassing darkness to the fear of unknown, the darkness of night also happens to be the magical time where ordinary images undergo strange and magical transformation. For me night photography brings out the ability to see the collision between the normal and paranormal and also the ability to pair beauty with fascination and the real with the surreal. This viewpoint was inspired by photographer Gregory Crewdson in his book 'Twilight'

Its not just the darkness of the dimly lit night but even low lights which make the human imagination play games and creates a fascination of seeing images which do not exist in the harshness of sunlight. Flaws get erased, ugly becomes plain and plain becomes beautiful.
Why I use the term 'nocturnal' (in all different shades and manifestations!) point of view is because metaphorically speaking, the owl, a night creature, teaches us to acknowledge the dark side of our personality, and in that darkness we may find food for growth and optimism.