Capturing The Light

Every morning he rises at dawn, packs a lunch, and heads out I-80 to scout locations. The strange thing is he takes no camera -just a compass. How is it a photographer works with a compass and no camera? His camera only records his work. The compass is his tool for helping him with his actual work. 

          Finding an interesting subject, a barn, farmhouse, or a store in a small rural town, he sets about working. First, he studies his chosen subject from every angle marking a pencil sketch with points from his compass. His photos are all black and whites, color is a distraction for him. His true subject is the light and how it creates moods. The isolated farm structures act as characters in a play. Long rays of light lead into stories of time and history. Generations of one family living off the same land for years told in black and white photos are his creations. 

          When the time is right the camera will accompany him. When the camera comes along the day begins at 2 or 3 AM so as to arrive at his subject before the sun begins to light his story. His compass has told him where to set his camera. He shoots several shots moving slightly right and left. His story safely locked in his camera as he heads home.  

          The artist with the camera is much like the painter who searches for a story for his canvas. The painter deals with color much like the photographer deals with light. Many painters get lost in the subject and miss the narrative of the light. Light can spark a memory or lead one to dream. The artist knows how to use all these elements to tell his story. In the studio or out on a dusty road painting, artists use all the elements at their disposal to tell their story.

          The July sun fills my studio with light and shadows. I place my subjects to take full advantage of these interesting patterns. With the light constantly changing time becomes a factor. Sometimes I have minutes to capture a sliver of light moving across my model and I have to decide just where I want it in my painting. Light is always an interesting challenge for me. Capturing it at just the right moment to enhance feelings - happening in my studio or out on that dusty road. 

      My mind seems to fill with things to say and do while painting, always forming new images to put to canvas.