Seeing Light And Shadow

By Judith Leitner

It all begins with light and shadow: opulent daylight softly slipping through a window and illuminating a lovely face, deep shadows stretching across wide valleys and cavernous crevices, dazzling light glistening on ice or crafting strange forms along sand dunes, elongated shadows within dawn’s emergent light and dusk’s fading glow, dense light within grey fog, mellow open shade on a bright summer day, harsh and calculating flash light in a dark room: these and an infinite array of other expressions of light and shadow are the primary shapers of meaning in a photograph. Indeed, the word ‘photography’ literally means ‘writing (graphy) with light (photo)’.

The first time I taught children to ‘write with light’ I quickly understood that all they needed – after a very basic intro to the camera and film – was a few lessons in exploring light and shadow. Outdoors, we wandered and observed how time of day, weather, open air and rooftop canopies informed qualities of natural light and shadow, and we played with the flash in daylight. The children were amazed when they perceived the ways their hats blocked light and cast dark shadows on their faces. Indoors, we looked at diffused window light, [...] continue the story

There Is Beauty In Darkness

By redcurls November 28, 2011

When I was diagnosed with MS I had lost most of the vision in one eye with Optic Neuritis and the dizziness was frightening having to drive on a busy highway each day to work. There were times I couldn’t tell if my car had stopped or not and working with abused mothers and their children I was always afraid of running over a child coming or going from my office. I got my sight back but started a long relapsing and remitting, in and out of the hospital experience. I had been very active in writing and illustrating my stories for the children that I worked with. I taught art classes to encourage their creativity. I had begun getting ready for my own art showing but felt like I would never be able to paint or sketch again. I went to sleep with tears, I had closed the door to my art studio with paintings half finished. I couldn’t handle the small details of my painting anymore. I dreamed that I saw myself painting and I was painting to music …it was SO REAL. I awoke and went into my studio at midnight and took out [...] continue the story