The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Edge Lighting

One of the turning points in my photography was when I discovered side-lighting on faces. Lit from one side only, the landscape of the face came to life - lines, textures and depth all became exaggerated and a powerful sense of character emerged from the screen. So much more interesting than bland front-lighting.

The next great discovery for me was back-lighting. This creates a real separation from the background and makes the person or object you are photographing leap out of the photo.

A more recent discovery has been edge-lighting - a place inbetween side and back. I've been using it for years as part of the mix, but where the beauty comes is when it, and only it, is being used.

Last year I did a series of photos in collaboration with sculptor, Lucianne Lassalle, and model, Kat (Night Phoenix). It was a day spent in play and experimentation to see what might happen. Kat was progressively coated in chalks, powders, clay and even paint, by Lucianne, while I tried out different compositions, angles and lighting.

Among the 300 or so photos I took, there are a great deal of interesting, fascinating and quite beautiful images. However due to life getting in the way for all three of us, nothing has yet been done with any of the photos, although we have recently started discussing potential ways to move forward with them and ideas they have inspired.

Because of these conversations I was looking back through the images and came across a few where the lighting had "failed" - I was using two off-camera flashes and only one had fired, meaning the effect I was after didn't materialise on those shots.

But for some reason, when looking at these photos this time round I was suddenly struck by their potential. I pulled them into photoshop, converted them to black and white, then started playing with the lighting levels - gradually making the shadows and mid-tones darker and darker until they were completely black, leaving only the areas where the light had directly hit the body.

And the images that emerged made me go all goose-bumpily. I was amazed at how wonderful they looked.

I phoned Kat last night and she's delighted with them and more than happy for me to put them up online, so I knew exactly what this week's blog post was going to be. Later in the evening she sent me an email, saying:

I love the slightly abstract feel of them, the mystery to them, the capacity for the viewer to create their own story, how they are real and confront the viewer with their realness. I adore the juxtoposition of a real persons body with cellulite, sags and skin things aka "flaws" with the beautiful poses and almost serene atmosphere or otherwise energetic vibe. I like the challenging nature of that challenging society (certain mainstream media) views of what beauty or sensuality is. To think I have been a part of this :D
Deep, beautiful, emotive, challenging and abstract. We did good and you did amazing!
Definately worth an earful of clay!

As always, feel free to click on the images for larger versions


Carole said...

Brilliant work. Brave model. Beautiful in every sense of the word.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I now imagine trees, houses, people and animals in the dark.

hope said...

Reality is a beautiful concept in itself.

Theanne Crossett said...

I'm always intrigued with how you are constantly experimenting and growing with your art. These photos are extraordinarily a very positive way. Who knew the human body, with what we perceive as flaws, could be so beautiful. Thank you to the two ladies for assisting you in creating these images. As always, I love it when you do your B&W magic :)

Pat said...

Yes they are amazing.

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - thank you - very much appreciated :)

Guyana-Gyal - the possibilities are endless - get out there with your camera :)

Hope - :)

Theanne - it's a mix of real and unreal. I've not made any adjustments to her body, so that's real. But I have made a lot of adjustments to the light and tones - you would never see images like that in real life - your eyes would see in the shadows - so that's very unreal :)

Pat - thank you :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Not me, I'll stick to painting with words :-) and leave the art of photography to you.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - you do paint so beautifully with words :)

Mimi and Tilly said...

These images are so beautiful. I was a life model for an art class over a period of several months once upon a time, and loved seeing how other people saw me and translated that onto paper. It did wonders for my sense of self and letting go of perceived flaws. The human body is just so beautiful, and you have captured the model in such a magical way.

Thanks for your comments on my recent posts. It helps to understand the timeline you laid out and gives me a sense of seeing the journey through grief.

I have had times of feeling completely blocked as I've wanted to not step into the privacy of others on my blog, hence the massive time gaps between some posts.

I appreciate your kindness and sharing Kim. Thank you for the {hugs}. Sending them your way. Em.🌌

Kim Ayres said...

Mimi & Tilly - thank you for your kind words - they are warmly appreciated :)

Many of the models at the life drawing class I go to are over 50, which often means a wonderful variation of body shapes and sizes. "Flaws" as perceived by our narrow visioned mainstream media tend to be the most interesting parts to draw, and even photograph.

As for the comments on your posts - I'm deeply sorry for your loss. If anything I've written helps in any way then I'm pleased. In turn, you will pass on the wisdoms you gain from experience when the time is right


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