Shadow and Darkness (symbols)

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Julie H, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. Atget's example is that of darkness into light and light into darkness. It's the stretching out of light, time, into a single moment. It's clear and concise. Not as a single thing but as a constant transitioning from one state to the next. A ton of feathers is just as heavy as a ton of steel but they don't feel the same. That's how Atget's treatment of light and dark feels to me here. As something equal in weight but different in texture.
  2. It's also the kind of picture (like so many of Atget's) that makes me feel both victorious and defeated as a photographer. Could it be this easy? Could it be this impossible?
  3. Dirk Braeckman's blacks and greys of shadow suck out all the surrounding light into the picture. You can just barely breathe in them. Something also to do with the treatment of the almost fur like print surface that absorbs all of the reflected light.

    Dirk Braeckman
  4. I was hoping to have more time this morning to say the following, but I don't so I'll just have to sketch it out. Phil, you're already posting to the same tangent; I love it when that happens ...

    What I was thinking about was how "darkness" seems to have distinct flavors. If you compare the feel — quality, emanation, call, whatever it is that "darkness" does — of an Atget to that of a Sudek (what I've been thinking of) or a Braeckman (perfect additional example) that Phil has linked, they "work" differently. It's as if you can smell the particular artist in what is ... dark. Context, proportion, whatever; they're using "darkness" in a consistent, recognizable way that is surprisingly distinct, IMO.
  5. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Phil, this is weird. Your description of Braeckman's photos remind me of the Passchendaele mud; mud that sucked life, not light, out of everything, where soldiers suffocated- couldn't breathe- even the texture of the surfaces is similar.

    (my comparison is not that odd. Braeckman is from Flanders and I had been reading about Passchendaele this week as it is the 100th anniversary of the battle at the end of the month)
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  6. Braeckman also has a series of images printed in his signature style from negatives taken by an unknown WW1 photographer...
  7. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    i'd like to see those but in person.

    to me, a lot of Braeckman's photos, at least superficially, give off a feeling of serenity and although there is an absence of the light i don't see them as 'dark'.
  9. Supriyo and Phil S like this.
  10. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Julie has been watching too much tv*. Try and make time for Philosophy.

    * Prime Suspect: The Scent of Darkness (TV Movie 1995) - IMDb
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  11. Your pictures are shadow used to make form. Can you not understand the difference between shadow as form and shadow as used to make form?
    [On the other hand, the "darkness" in your last two, does fit well into this thread, IMO.]

    Ralph Gibson? Did somebody say Ralph Gibson?

    As a young boy I would sometimes visit my father at work. He was an assistant to Alfred Hitchcock at Warner Brothers studio in Burbank. I vividly recall the high contrast lighting used to expose the ortho-chromatic films then in use. — Ralph Gibson

    It has often been remarked that the photographs that most readily capture our imagination conceal almost as much as they reveal and mystify perhaps more than they explicate. As early a practitioner as William Henry Fox Talbot recognized this when he announced his discovery and described photography as "the art of fixing a shadow," for he knew that he had invented a process that recorded not the thing itself, but its reflection, its fleeting and ever-changing shadow. From the very beginning of his career, shadows and mystery have been the subjects of Gibson's art. While he frequently photographs in brilliant light, recording, for example, the way sunlight illuminates an ancient stone, it is often the shadow, with its dense blackness that only grudgingly admits details of texture, time, and place, that most intrigues him. — Sarah Greenough

    I once told Dorothea [Lange] that I thought I wanted to be a surrealist photographer. She said, "You can only be yourself, Raphel (her nickname for me), the rest is just a name." — Ralph Gibson

    Neither straight nor romantic, not simulated nor journalistic, neither conceptualistic nor luminist, he has successfully evaded classification, settling somewhere between abstraction and realism and, within that band he works his craft, assembling the pieces of visual mosaic often with recurring optical tropes — the gesturing hand, the shadow, the singular eye, geometric configures — and allows us to view them on our own. — Ray Merritt

    I don't want to make abstract photographs, but I do want to perceive the abstract in things. I find a great deal of mystery in being alive. — Ralph Gibson

    Locus is the surface of the print, the city of origin or a place in the mind. — Ralph Gibson

    A phenomenology making darkness visible. The presence of absence. — Ralph Gibson
  12. Barry, the subject of that last one is very 'Braeckman'esque'.
  13. Norman, these are the ones from the WWI negatives, there are only 12 of them. They're a bit more typical in terms of their aesthetic and subject:

    #14_18#86#13 schwarzschild — Dirk Braeckman

    What strikes me about the overall feel of his work and the individual images is not that of a literal or metaphorical 'darkness', but more that of a pervading 'blankness', something that's neither light nor dark. Some of the images are more direct and obvious, like THIS one, but the best ones remain so elusively out of reach, refusing to take a position. I've only seen one of his images as a print but as prints they would feel even more sealed off and distant, yet also strangely inviting.
  14. a promise_by_philip_sweeck.jpg
  15. I may be the only one reading this thread who doesn't have TV. Really. None. Zip. I do have a DVD player on which I watch used documentary DVDs.
  16. And how do you watch DVDs without a TV ... You meant, you don't have antenna or cable?

  17. You hit the nutshell on the head.
  18. I stopped paying for antenna and cable almost two years ago but I'm still receiving it.

    Two Cohen songs/poems about darkness:

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    Uhooru likes this.
  19. Well, we will disagree Julie, What maybe you are not seeing is that, the shadows in the photos create, imply and amplify form, but are also a form in themselves.

Share This Page