Friday, October 16, 2009

Where's the light?

There have been a few posts lately that I've read asking about whether writers are drawn to other types of art. As my regular readers know, I'm a HUGE fan of photography and used to do posts comparing photography with writing. I've decided to bring that regular feature back to my blog. I can't help myself. I've missed it. Maybe you have too.

A lot of people may think that the subject is the most important part of any given picture. While it's true that the subject is the focal point of the picture and may even be the reason the picture was taken, for a truly masterful picture it's all about the light. What is the source of the light? What is it illuminating? How bright is it? How does it color the subject?
Bright light can be very harsh on the subject.

Same subject (our lovely daughter), same beach backdrop but this time as the sun is setting. Notice the difference in the skin tones. See how her eyes stand out.

Here are some pretty colors, but this one is lacking something.
Illuminate it with a little light from behind. It makes a more powerful statement.

What you do with your light depends on what your goal is. Sometimes you want to show the leaf.
Sometimes you want to emphasize the hole in the leaf. That's the same leaf at the same time of day. One with the light behind me, the other with the light behind the leaf. In the first one you don't even notice the hole, but it's there.

How do we illuminate our stories? Do we use light at all? Do we shine harsh light on the subjects or let a gentle glowing reveal them to our readers? Do we show our characters in different lights and different angles to give a complete picture of who they are--flaws and all? How important is light to your story? Is it a symbol you use? For mine it is very important. It is a source of truth. It reveals hidden elements. It helps the MC see her path and follow it.

Just a few things to think about.

13 comments:

Kasie West said...

I love your pics. Your daughter is gorgeous. I too love photography. It's something I dabble in. And you're right, light can change everything. Just like light in writing can. Thanks for the insights. :)

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, Kasie. We may have to talk photography sometime.

Tamika: said...

You are an amazing photographer! All the pictures are breathtaking.

I hope my writing will paint vivid pictures like this.

Blessings to you!

Tamika: said...

You are an amazing photographer! All the pictures are breathtaking.

I hope my writing will paint vivid pictures like this.

Blessings to you!

Hannah Beth said...

What I found most amusing/interesting was that I liked both of your example "bad lighting" pictures. =D guess I'm just different like that

lotusgirl said...

Tamika, Thanks.

Hannah, I suppose they're not really bad per se, but they could be better/more striking.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I like this analogy of using light in varying ways as we write. I'm going to noodle on it for a bit. Beautiful photos, too. thx

Danyelle said...

This is a beautiful post--and full of beautiful pictures. :) I love the idea of playing with light--both in pictures and in stories. My characters tend to write the story themselves, but I loved reading it through after I'm done and catching all of the symbolism I'd missed when I'd originally typed it.

Kelly H-Y said...

I'm so glad you brought back these photography posts!!! The leaf pictures are gorgeous ... but your daughter is positively stunning! Beautiful pics! And, great comparison as well.

Patti said...

Gorgeous photos, especially of your daughter. It's amazing how things look in a different light. .

Lady Glamis said...

What beautiful thoughts! I like this a lot. It helps me think about Nick and what light I'm showing him in. I think I show him pretty harshly, and then softer as time goes one. Great photos! :)

Crimey said...

I'd like to think that at the beginning of my novel, you see my MC Val in one light, but as the novel goes on hopefully the readers see both her good and bad qualities as well.

Ann Victor said...

Gosh Lois, your daughter is gorgeous! And I just LOVE the photo of the leaf with the light shining through it. Wonderful shot. (My husband does photography; must show him this photo!)

An excellent analogy to shining light on our characters. I prefer the gentle, subtle lighting. To me, it makes the characters more interesting, even if the reader has to work a little bit harder to grasp all the nuances. Hopefully it encourages a second and a third reading, each one revealing a little more.