That missing light

Looking back at my images from the past 3-4 months made me realise something.

It’s something that is almost as inevitable as it is important. My photographic style changed. Or at least some parts of it did.

Basically my storytelling remains the same. I still seek seclusion in crowd streets. That loneliness. That solitude of man. It has become my way of doing street photography. I venture off in almost every photographic direction, simply because my curiosity allows me nothing else. But the root of it all. My stem. My base. The solitude in the crowded streets. Interplay between organic matter and concrete. This is where I rest.

My compositions has hence forth not changed much either. The above storytelling dictates compositions with loads of wide empty space with simple eye-catching elements. When possible!

When multitudes of humanity enters the frame the narrow DOF is still my favoured tool for subject isolation. Still hung up on straight lines, and order in chaos. My OCD-ish nature simply dictates this. So what has changed?

Light! Or lack of it.

We’re all taught the basics of photography. “Light you subject properly if you want proper results.” Strobes, natural light. Doesn’t matter. But use it proper. After all photography is about capturing that light.


But what about the areas that aren’t lit? They’re everywhere. And when you start paying attention to them and trying to understand what they can do for your photography, you can go places that is so much more fun that using only the light side of the force!

The shadows – thats what changed.

I simply started using light differently. In the past my post processing always, without exception, consisted of my lifting the shadows. Lighting them, adding light where none should exist. The dynamic range of modern cameras lets you easily do this. But in recent months I have started doing things differently. I now subtract even more light from these areas. Using spot light measurements  and making sure I have pitch black shadows I can now via missing light add lines to the physical lines in the image. It also adds a darker mood to the image. Or, maybe just mood.

While you will certainly be losing details in the image, you will gain a very strong composition instead. I guess you can’t have it all.

I know that the focussing on shadows has indeed changed my photography. It has given me one more “trick in the bag”. I might return to bringing out shadow details, or I might get lost in those dark sides. Who knows.

Below are the shadier images from the last 3 months. Some of them I have already posted. Others are fresh. They emphasise what I tried to put into words above. A lot of black dark empty space and some strong contrasty lines and silhouettes/contours.

Shades and return. Lines and emotion.


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