Montage of Beautiful Things. Research

Light was the most open word we were given. Light is obviously an absolutely fundamental part of lens based art and affects every single piece of art ever made. My research into this word was so enjoyable because of the fantastic artists I researched and the stunning works they have produced. Of course I could have chosen any artist and in some way related their work to light but I decided to investigate specifically pieces that had a less abstract approach and very much had a source of light for their basis as a piece.

One of my favourite pieces which I saw at the Tate a few years ago is The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson.

Obviously you can see in this photo that it was a spectacular event of which there have been so many in the Turbine. Eliasson used mono-frequency lamps to recreate the sun. What is fascinating about his use of light here is that his conscious decision to use mono-frequency means that he changes the the colour of everyone and everything that surrounds it. Rather like streetlights mono-frequency bulbs produce such a narrow frequency that only black and yellow are really visible beneath it and I love the idea that the audience are becoming part of the art. Eliasson also used a mirror on the ceiling thus using his available light to create another effect and also sprayed a fine mist across the room for the light to catch. This multi usage is fascinating and researching into Eliasson’s work has made me realise that utilising all available light in the most imaginative way possible can make for extraordinary creations.

Now seems an appropriate time to show you my light work:

I did not edit this, only shot it.

Juggling from Mick Le Mare on Vimeo.

You can see how beautiful the light was on the day I shot this, the purest of sunlight shining almost directly at my wall. The reason I chose to use the balls that I am juggling with was because the sunlight brought out their vibrancy to great affect and in contrast to my fairly cold plain colours I think they look fantastic. Unfortunately I am a little over -exposed but it was so key to have the red brick of the wall correctly exposed because the light hitting it looked extraordinary. I adore the colour that has been brought out and I stress that whilst the footage has been heavily edited there has been no colour correction or fiddling about with contrast, this is exactly how it looked at the time. I think, whilst totally different in terms of size and medium, Eliasson’s Weather Project has influenced me in that it utilises all available light and this is what I have attempted here.

Another Exhibition I saw a few years ago at the serpentine immediately sprang to mind when I began thinking about light. Anthony Mccall is an amazing light sculptor installing fantastic interactive exhibitions. His main body of work, and that of the exhibition I saw, consists of sheets of light projected onto various surfaces. These beautiful ethereal shapes are so delicate but almost look as if they have a physicality about them, as if you can reach out and touch them.

You can see from the photos above the way people have interacted with the light. This form of art is of great inspiration to a videographer because of the movement involved. Although of course you can’t see this in the picture lots of Mccall’s beams of light are moving slightly, some are moving dramatically and some stay totally still. The dust in the room hitting the light would make such a beautiful video – it is a shame I couldn’t get get access to his work when deliberating how to approach light.

On a technical level I have been researching into controlling light when using cameras. I shot A Hanging on a JVC700 which responded fairly well to the lower light but since then I have become fascinated with moving image shot on DSLRs. The juggling piece is shot on my 60D, of course I had fantastic amounts of light to play with here and the camera responds fantastically to this but I have also been attempting to shoot some stuff in lower light and this has proved more tricky. Having done research on Vimeo Video school, which is a great place to find clearly given advice on many aspects of video production, I have uncovered some of my issues. If you use an ISO which is a multiple of 125 when shooting in low light you are likely to have far more noise than you would using non multiples. I have been testing this out and it is extraordinary the difference that it has made to a couple of tests I did. This research has proved invaluable because shooting in low light is notoriously tricky on DSLRs so any improvements that can be made are warmly received.

Shooting Video with a DSLR from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

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