I took a walk on the beach yesterday. Venice Beach, Ca. The pier, the infamous boardwalk including muscle beach, the locals, the endless ‘characters’, tourists, artists, vendors, hustlers, musicians, and vagrants. Eclectic, crazy, complex environment with complicated backrounds, lots of people, movement everywhere, and even more people. Difficult environment to shoot in for all of the above reasons but also because of difficult light. Direct sun, high in the summer; in your face in the winter. When the sun is high, the shadows are deep and you have to be careful. When the sun is in your face, it is in your lens also, and you have to be careful. Creating problems and limitations which invite you to see and move in different directions and angles for contrast, texture, exaggerated shadows, silhouettes, depth, drama, separation of form, surfaces, and subject matter. It is almost too much to look at, too much to take in. Visual overload with beach energy, twilight zone of light and shadow. Light this gorgeous makes one forget about everything else. The drug of light, so to speak. Everything is heightened. One’s sense of reality changes, as do your feelings, emotions, and response to environment. One reacts differently in great light.
I came home on a natural, creative, “illuminated” high. Just being at the beach is enough for me, but seeing, feeling, and appreciating that light is the gift producing slices of everyday life, beach details, poetic moments, and portraits. How fortunate. Getting lost in the most beautiful, intense, incisive, cutting, brilliant, dangerous, hot, unforgiving, penetrating sunlight !! Heaven. Nirvana. Ecstasy.
Times are hard, life is difficult, the world is tough but one can still take a walk on the beach, with a camera, in the sun, with incredible light, discovering and interpreting subject matter and coming home with art. How fortunate.
Have a productive, creative New Year. Be thankful.