A favorite book of mine is Teaching Photography: notes assembled by Philip Perkis (RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press 2005), which is a collection of notes from 40 years of lectures, assignments and critiques given by Mr. Perkis. The book is filled with so many small gems, my copy is highlighted and underlined throughout. But one of my favorites is Excercise #6 Watching Light:
Find a room where sun comes in late in the day. Place a comfortable chair that looks toward the light and sit down. Sit there until it's dark. Just watch.
Profound and zen like in simplicity. What a way to meditate on the qualities of light. One would not need to be inside a room to experience this meditation. It could just as easily be accomplished on a quiet beach or mountaintop. The same thing could be observed in reverse; watch the light come up in the morning and gradually transition from black to light. I have observed this first hand numerous times from a canoe in the middle of a dead calm lake. Paddling out on the water in pre-dawn hours so dark and calm I can see the stars reflected in the water all around me. And ever so slowly and subtly that darkness fades away and sunlight begins to bring the horizon into focus. I am always mesmerized and awed by this experience, as well as somewhat frustrated by my inability to capture the experience of transitional light into a photograph.
It was with this in mind that drew my attention to a recent submission from Iranian photographer Aras Karimi , who works with light as the subject of his photographic work. His artist statement is as follows...
"I look at photography as a relationship between light and film: light as a playful actor and film as a serious recorder. The job of a photographer, which is experimental by nature, is to write the best scenario for this one-time instant play. A genuine play is inevitably the result of accurate eyes, free mind, and fundamentals of photography at heart. Light is the subject of my works. Unlike the usual process in photography that uses light as a means to record a scene and tell its story, I am interested in light as a story teller. In fact the scene in my works is the medium to picture light, its mood on different surfaces, and its personality in different spaces. Photography has become a meditation for me. I capture light through a process and technique that I have developed myself and take lots of patience and passion. Sometimes I set the camera in a location and take pictures of natural light through time. Sometimes I move the camera with the change of light in time. All of these efforts are to illustrate light in its most naked way, freeing and extracting it from the sense of time, space, and objects. What satisfies me and urges me to do more and more photography projects are the results, which are the ability to depict my childhood fascination and share it with others: the irresistible playful beauty of light."
|Untitled Images by Aras Karimi|
"All of my photographs are purposefully untitled. I like to give a chance to the viewer to experience their own emotion while they are coinciding with an expression of mine. It is also unnatural to apply a rational meaning to something that is opposite from being a product of intellect as all of my works are pure reflections of my vision, and emotion at the moment the shot is taken.
When the photographs are left untitled, the communication between me and the audience stays in a non-verbal infinite world, free of cues, symbols, cultural limitations, current trends, and of course the native characteristics of our mind. In this sense, pure visual experience is more universal, imaginative and free. Any word associated with the photograph limits this possibility and directs the mind to a world constructed by language, hence the photo becomes a visual-verbal experience, rather than pure visual."
Aras Karimi's website