Light is a gift.

An artist must see, appreciate, totally understand, own, control, manipulate, manufacture, embrace, tease with, bend, direct, develop a personal feeling for, and become a master of LIGHT !  Nothing can exist without light; with light, everything becomes real.  If you are lazy about lighting or think it doesn’t matter, you are wrong.  Without light, we have no emotion, texture, contour, information, illusion, or interpretation in our work.  What does that leave ?

Do you see light every day and are you thankful every single day for that awareness ?   Do you appreciate whatever quality of light is available?  Can you alter it if you need ?  Do you notice how the light changes during the day and the resulting feeling ?   Natural light is the greatest teacher of all.  If you are a master with natural light and are able to reproduce all qualities of it inside as well, then you might actually know light.

Light is inspiration.  Think about that.  Think about what light makes you relate to because of how it makes you FEEL. Sometimes it is like you must begin with light before subject matter.  Light will show you the way to play with feelings, define space, introduce psychology, and envelop in mood – all of things that make one think, feel, and react when they look at your work.

Light is energy.  When reflecting on his life as a film maker Ingmar Bergman wrote : “I do mourn the fact that I no longer make films.  Most of all. I miss working with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, perhaps because we are both utterly captivated by the problems of light : the gentle, dangerous, dreamlike, living, dead, clear, misty, hot, violent, bare, sudden, dark, springlike, falling, straight, slanting, sensual, subdued, limited, poisonous, calm, pale light. Light. “

To which I would humbly add, “A day without photography and some kind of light is not worth getting out of bed for.” Notice the light tomorrow.

…  Ken Merfeld

Categorized as Light

1 comment

  1. These truly are words for the real photographer to live by…

    Your words, your thoughts, your quote, your expression of vision, should be absorbed and realized and taken to heart by each of us who practice the photographic arts.

    As a fellow photographer once said to me, “Stay in the sweet Light that sets your soul free…”

    Congratulations Ken, on such a phenomenally beautiful, powerful, and inspirational website!

    Your little brother

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