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Exhibition: Shadows (June 2007)

Go to the gallery of images of the exhibition.


Shadow always comes together with light. There is no light without shadow. Since photography is (literally translated) drawing with light shadows play an important role in photography.

Sometimes shadows are not desired in an image. In portraits shadows for example below the nose or around the eyes can ruin an image. Similarly in macro or product photography shadows are often not desired since they reduce the visibility of parts of the image.
In all those cases it is often better to take images on overcast days when shadows are less of an issue or under controlled conditions in the studio

But the subject of this exhibition is the shadow itself. So obviously all images displayed in this exhibition have been taken under bright sunlight.
The character of the shadow changes as the light changes. Around noon when the sunlight is coming from directly above this calls for different images then early or late in the day when the angle of the sun is much lower.

Shadow of Empire State Building

Empire State Bldg.

Shadows around noon

Sometimes only the shadow of a landmark allows recognizing that landmark. For example the shadow of the Empire State Building on the right that is spreading over the buildings of midtown Manhattan can immediately be recognized. For those images it is important to catch the right time of the day. If the shadow is too long - due to low angle of the sun - the source of the shadow cannot be recognized any more or the shadow just too long to fit on an image of a reasonable format.
So this is one of the rare cases when only photography around noon yields the desired results.

Similarly the image of the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge was also take in the early afternoon since in the late afternoon the shadow would have been too long to allow being photographed.

Shadows early and late in the day

Mailbox in Stanley

Mailbox in Stanley

When the angle of the sun is low this allows different types of images. The image of the mailbox in Stanley on the left looks vivid and three-dimensional mainly because its shadow can be clearly seen and recognized in the background. This is only possible since the angle of the sun is low. The image of the doorbell in Stanley is quite similar.

Staircase in the Getty Museum

Getty Museum

Also images of only the shadow of certain features like the staircase of the Getty Museum on the right is also effective since the sun is very low so that it creates a clear and easy to recognize shadow on the wall.

Very similar is the early morning photography of the shadow of a column on the closed shop window in Kiama.
In both cases only the low sunlight makes the image possible. Around noon it would be impossible to recognize the subject that is the reason for the shadow.