“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.”
Light and shadows. One and the other. Both together. We all cast them (hopefully) and maybe I am a bit more aware with how mine falls from time to time. I love to chase the light and catch the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, but more than that, I love the shadows that are cast in the hours of low sun and in virtual darkness, out in the city, in the forest, or at home. I always have, and with the camera I have found a way to worship the ground they fall on. Wherever we travel.
I was recently asked about this “Shadow love” and thought I would, in my own way give you a little bit about what I think when I make these shots and how it affects me and the photography I do.
I am at my happiest when I see shadows that fall at the “proper” length (love those long shadows!) and make me look twice, searching for some purpose to them and how they dance in my view and cast an obscure figure. I can easily stand on a street corner with decent sun or street light, watching as shadows chase before the person casting it, creating a life of their own and leading the way or following and protecting. I love how they fall and reveal a mystery, a deception of person and under the right conditions an unease that conjures up late night Stephen King novels and after dark cinema. But, there is softness in them and deeper stories worth telling and each one is unique to ourselves. They spark imagination and lend to the story of my frames often, helping to give depth when there may be none without them. In shadow, life lives.
I am swayed by an empty wall where a shadow falls from a passerby or my own cast from back light that reveals a vision of me at the bottom of stairs. There is a life in the corner of a building with sunlight spreading from beyond and a casted shadow approaching. Looking up in darkness, I see a shadow in the window of a home above and the tell-tale sign of life from inside, the shadow mimicking the owner putting up drapes. Wherever they fall, however they are cast, the discovery of one is always a treat and worth another look in my book.
In shadow, I seek a deeper purpose, often inserting a figure among them without the attached person being visible acknowledging the mystery of a story that I see fit to tell. My imagination has always been swayed by what I dont see and often the seemingly lurking shadow allows this flow to gain momentum and the mystery to heighten. Sometimes the beauty of a shadow accentuates the beauty of person, allowing the depth to take over and the charm to begin. Sometimes, in reflection, a shadow gives weight to an ordinary scene and gives perspective when there may have been none.
I use falling shadows often in my work to help accentuate. Sometimes the frame simply becomes deeper, more meaningful, and nostalgic with the edge of a shadow being central to it. My own story at times, takes precedence and these shadows becomes central to my mood and emotions of the time, helping to add my own value and understanding of my vision and voice. I once wrote a short visual piece about this. You can read and view it here. This one is darker and I will use it on another post when I speak about depression, which is something that like my shadow, I have always had. I regress.
Here are a few images to better describe the love of shadow that I speak of. You can also visit my entire gallery devoted to them with lots of examples. SHADOWS.
As always, thank you for reading and I am happy to anser any questions or hear your thoughts. Cheers.