Posts Tagged ‘film’

The last of the light – about twilight

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

 

Light and moreover, the quality of the light that I’ve photographed in has, it’s true to say, been rather an obsession for me.

Working away from the cold, blue northern light of a damp Britain, I’ve been completely enthralled by the warmth and the colour of the light of the South – particularly of Africa and Asia. Sometimes I confess, that concern has overridden my image-making – sometimes I’ve simply not taken an image that perhaps I should have done because I didn’t feel the light was beautiful enough. It used to be much worse when working on transparency film: dawn and dusk were the only times I would work outside comfortably because only then could you guarantee that rich, golden warmth.

I’ve therefore been intrigued over the last few days to read Peter Davidson’s new book, The last of the light – about twilight. In it, Davidson examines twilight in the tradition of Western art, thought and sensibility. It is an extraordinary book and a meditation on the very brief threshold between day and dusk. I realised that I’ve shot so little outside of the ‘golden hours’ that actually I wonder if I’ve done myself a great disservice. I’m not sure that except on a few isolated occasions that I ever have shot at twilight – that briefest of in-between times when the sun has dipped and ushers in a blue sky just before the inevitable black.

Digital cameras allow us a much greater latitude to cover marginal light – sometimes light that the human eye cannot see. In that way perhaps we’re becoming less aware of light’s peculiarities and certainly its perceived technical limitations. Certainly if we are able to photograph more in twilight perhaps we are less aware of its historic and symbolic meanings for past generations. Inevitably, it just becomes another time of day shorn of it’s cultural significance – and hence the kind of imagery that we can photographically reflect.

I’m not sure that except on a few isolated occasions that I ever have shot at twilight. Here’s an image taken (ironically in London) of an instant before twilight – just as the sun is dipping below the horizon.

 

An Eco Protester salutes the day’s end on the site in Wandsworth, London that has been occupied by environmental campaigners called “The Land is Ours”. London, UK. The land, owned by Guinness was occupied by activists who built a squatted village to show the potential of alternative land use.

 

Hooray for Bollywood…

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

 

This month marks the centenary of Bollywood – the garish, larger-than-life dream factory that enraptures Indian audiences worldwide. Five years ago I was commissioned by the Sunday Times Magazine to photograph Ronnie Screwvalla, the millionaire film producer and founder of the UTV group over a couple of days in Mumbai. Screwvalla proved charming if extraordinarily busy. I photographed him at home and at his studios but realising that he would make a good potential cover, pursuaded his nervous PR staff (they’re always nervous aren’t they?) to let me have twenty minutes with him at a Mumbai beach near where he grew up. Originally, I’d wanted him walking along the beach but it soon became clear that that wasn’t going to happen. I arrived early and had my star-struck driver hold a single strobe as Screwvalla emerged from his limo. The picture lasted no more than five minutes before he had to leave. It never made the cover but I’ve always liked it.

 

 

India - Mumbai - Ronnie Screwvala, CEO of UTV, at Sea Face Bay  in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India..As a producer and businessman, over the past five years Screwvala has led the transformation of India's prolific but chaotic film industry to become a crossover figure in Hollywood and Bollywood...

India – Mumbai – Ronnie Screwvala, CEO of UTV photographed at Sea Face Bay. As a producer and businessman over the past five years Screwvala has led the transformation of India’s prolific but chaotic film industry to become a crossover figure in Hollywood and Bollywood.