Time Exposures and Transient Luminous Events

The Time Exposure series deals with light, time and the figure photographed in a dark studio using various light sources, such as flashlights. Though I’d been producing time exposures for years, I found a different direction in 1999 by incorporating figures into my work. Along with reigniting my passion for photography, it gave me a chance to explore an exciting new realm of imagery, and use a dark space as my photographic canvas. Ansel Adams spoke of visualizing the final image before exposing the film so as to render the final image, “not the way the subject appeared in reality but how it felt to me and how it must appear in the finished print”. So to me, time exposures aren’t a shot in the dark. Several days before each session I close my eyes and visualize angles, poses, water, blur. I then make sketches and notes to use in the actual photography session. New ideas develop naturally during the session, and I incorporate these ideas into the photographs. Since these images are essentially "painted" with a flashlight in a dark room over several minutes, they take on a life of their own. Even after all the sketches and tests, these images leave me with a feeling of wonder about things visible only by light and time.

The color abstract images from the Transient Luminous Events series are a direct result of lighting tests for the Time Exposure series. While creating tools to use with various flashlights I soon found that some of the color tests were too interesting to ignore and decided to concentrate on creating more of these “light sketches.” Some exposures are long but the majority are relatively short at approx 15 - 30 seconds. Images from the most recent sessions  tend to stand alone and feel to me more like fragmented thoughts or subconscious ideas that take shape from the meditative experience of making them in a dark room. All of these images are hard to refine and reproduce, and change with each new exposure. Each change of speed, motion or light source changes the image in subtle ways so no two exposures are alike. These images are constantly changing, difficult to capture and quite beautiful. It is quite a special feeling to be interacting with the basics of the photographic image: A lens, a camera and light in my hands.

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