Ch. 7- Lighting

Chapter 7 Study Guide
Finding Meaning
Take a look at Garry Winogrand's photo of Hollywood Blvd. in 1969 on page 130 in our textbook.

He uses back-lighting during the "golden hour," right? (stuff you've learned already) And how about those leading-lines, huh (more stuff you've learned this year)?
Okay, now I want you to really look at this picture for meaning though, content and expression. Use your brain and your heart, not just your eyes. Sure, there's framing and contrast visually; the outside thirds are darker and busier, drawing attention to the three fashionable girls in the middle- but what does he contrast ideologically, socially or emotionally? Look at the people waiting for the bus on the right, how are they different from the girls in the middle? Now look at the figure by the store window on the left. How is he/she different that the girls? What do you think that Winogrand is trying to show us? What does it make you think about? How does it make you feel? (See how you can use light to effect expression? That's why I wanted to at least touch on chapter 7 while covering Chapter 9, "Seeing Like a Camera." about meaning & expression.)

Quality of Light Pages 132-133 in chapter 7 are really a review of something I hope you learned when we were covering Chapters 3-6. If you can, try to take pictures using all three of these kinds of lighting, Direct, Diffused, and Directional/Diffused. Make sure you understand and can recognize the differences. Notice how different the moods are in the pictures. Dorothea Lange's picture of a "Woman on the High Plains" from 1938 shows a young mother, but she doesn't look so young does she? Sure, Lange is famous for documenting the Great Depression, so stress, malnutrition, lack of make-up probably make this woman look older than she is- but so does the fact that Lange used the stark contrast of mid-day direct sunlight. Deep shadows accentuate every wrinkle and texture.

Skim through the rest of chapter 7 and notice the emotional effects that different styles of lighting, both natural/available, and artificial/studio have on images. Front lighting can be pretty sterile, High 45° can be warmer or more sensual, top lighting is very dramatic, as is back-lighting, whereas bottom-lighting seems very unnatural (pp136-137). Fill-Light and flash can really help you reveal detail- it's ironic that it sometimes takes artificial/supplementary lighting to make your picture look more real.

FLASH Okay, I've spent WAAAY too much time on this already, especially since I told you that I was only going to touch on this chapter and focus on how it relates to chapter 9. I just want you to be aware of a few important things about flash:
  • A flash is useless if you're closer to your subject than 5 feet- they'll be overexposed and washed out.
  • It's also useless if they're more than 15 feet away. The flash will illuminate only what's right in front of it and actually make your subject darker than if you hadn't used a flash. So it's important to consider where your subject is in relationship to your camera.
  • Those ghostly orbs that show up on everyone's pictures they take at the Valisca Ax Murder House? Are really just their flash reflecting off of dust particles floating in the air. Same thing can happen when it's raining or snowing. Learn how to turn your auto flash off when you don't want it.
  • It would also be good to learn how to make your flash "always on," instead of on auto. As you can read on pg.138, it can be useful for softening direct light, counteracting back-light and supplementing insufficient diffused light.

Terms you should know:
  • Bounce
  • Flash
  • Reflector


Picture Analysis
Please complete a Photo of the Week and look for a picture where the lighting has an impact on the mood or emotional/expressive qualities of the picture. Use the POW form-
Due Tuesday, April 26

If you're interested, you can see some examples of great silhouettes and back-lit shots,
See even more examples-