In the Lumen series of projects the topic of investigation is light itself. Different aspects of light are explored in separate bodies of work. My aim is to let light reveal itself.
Throughout history the phenomenon of light has always fascinated people. This is what some people have said about it:
Grosseteste: “Light is beautiful in itself, for its nature is simple and all of it is there at once. Wherefore it is integrated in the highest degree and most harmoniously proportioned and equal to itself, for beauty is a harmony of proportions.” (From: Eco, Umberto. The Aesthetics Of Thomas Aquinas. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1988, p.109)
Laslo Moholy-Nagy: “Photography is Light Architecture.” (From: Moholy-Nagy, Laslo. “Fotografie ist Lichtgestaltung”, Bauhaus, 2/1, 1928, p.1)
James Turrell: “Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.” (From: Zajonc, Arthur. Catching The Light: The Entwined History Of Light And Mind. London: Bantam Press, 1993, p.324)
This work primarily investigates light using electroluminescent (EL) wire. A current is passed through a copper wire causing the surrounding phosphor coating to emit light.
The wire was incorporated into custom-made costumes worn by the model. The model’s movements were then recorded, introducing a kinetic element. Images were also made using opaque and transparent mannequins.
Main series. Model: Sara Dylan; costumes : Lynne Dick; styling: Barbara Ann Carville.
Mannequins series. Styling: Lisa Lavery and Barbara Ann Carville.
Portrait series. Model: Cheryl Comfort; MUA: Marian Millar; hair: Gillian Cargo; styling: Barbara Ann Carville.
Luminescence 78. Models: Susan Davey and Leon McNamee; styling: Barbara Ann Carville.
Venue: The Cube Theatre, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast.
Light Trace 光 のトレース
This work resulted from a two day collaboration (during November 2011 in London) with Tokyo-based light artist/ fashion designer, Erina Kashihara.
Light emitted from within clothing and accessories combined with directed movements clothe the model within traces of light.
Light is the conduit between art and fashion.
Model: Laura Cherry; hair: Charlie Manns (Electric Hairdressing); styling: Erina Kashihara.
Assistance and studio in London: Jon Gray.
Images of light waves in water, glass, air and materials were projected onto the model. Film and analogue projection techniques were used; there was no digital manipulation.
Model: Katy Cee; assistance: François Boutemy at Simulacra Studios, London.
Light images taken in Ireland and Southern France.
“The photogram, or camera-less record of forms produced by light, which embodies the unique nature of the photographic process, is the real key to photography. It allows us to capture the patterned interplay of light on a sheet of sensitized paper without recourse to any apparatus. The photogram opens up perspectives of a hitherto wholly unknown morphosis governed by optical laws peculiar to itself. It is the most completely dematerialized medium which the new vision commands.”
A New Instrument Of Vision. In Moholoy-Nagy: A New Anthology. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970, p.50.
“The photogram maker’s problem has nothing to do with interpreting the world, but rather with the formation of abstractions. Objects are chosen for their light-modulating characteristic: their reality and significance disappear. The logical end point of the photogram is the reduction of photography to the light-recording property of silver salts. To the cameraman this is what Malevitch’s White on White is to the painter.”
Review of Moholy’s Achievement. In Moholoy-Nagy: A New Anthology. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970, p.71.
“The enemy of photography is the convention … the salvation of photography is the experiment.”
from Vision in Motion; quoted on the frontispiece of David Travis And Elizabeth Siegel (eds.). Taken By Design: Photographs From The Institute Of Design, 1937-1971. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (74th edition; 6 Mar 2002).
Refraction resulted from an experimental investigation into the refraction of sunlight through glass using sunlight and photographic silver gelatin paper.
Many effects of light occurred simultaneously, but the most prominent was the refraction of light through the various glass objects. I sought to document and interpret purely formal qualities of light.
Hidden lines and curves and other new ‘light objects’ were revealed by strong sunlight. Resulting images are left as negatives resembling X Rays, a symbolic gesture towards the interaction of science and art.
Light revealed the invisible.
There are three main groups of glass objects:
(1) glass objects made solely for scientific purposes. Despite their utility value they also have aesthetic value in their own right;
(2) artifacts made by glass artists from Northern Ireland, Southern France (Biot) and Corsica;
(3) household glass objects such as glass crystal.
Photographic paper and sunlight provided a primitive method of photography similar to the first photographic exposures. Photograms (camera-less pictures) are an essential aspect of the history of photography.
Practitioners include Fox Talbot (the first silver halide photograms), Man Ray (Rayograms) and Moholy-Nagy.
However, in these ‘solargrams’ the images are not chemically developed/fixed, rather they are ephemeral latent images resulting from exposure to direct sunlight.
The faint latent images were later scanned on an A4 flatbed scanner to preserve them. Unlike conventional black and white photograms subtle colours are revealed. There is no digital manipulation.
Final prints are huge enlargements of the original images thus revealing further details, paper texture and immersing the viewer in light patterns.
The only variables are: paper emulsion, the strength/UV content/timing of sun exposure and movement of the glass objects.
There is simplicity and purity.
Assistant: Yan Callum Taylor.
Thanks to the following glass artists for their kindness and co-operation:
George Burton, Glassblowing Workshop Supervisor, Queen’s University, Belfast;
Kenny Devon, Sharp As Glass, Bangor, Co. Down, N. Ireland;
Katherine Nixon, Killinchy, N. Ireland;
Scott Benefield & Andrea Spencer, Randalstown, N. Ireland;
Catherine Keenan Glass, Portstewart, N. Ireland;
Antoine Pierini, Biot, France (car transport and assistance kindly provided by Alain Bourjea);
Dominique Campana and Carol Haas at DCAMPANAGLASS, Calvi, Corsica.
These abstract photographs were created using long exposures of light in a fairground in Southern France.
Choreographed camera movements recorded the energy of moving light.
All images were recorded using only the infrared part of the spectrum. Different fabrics were used to study light modulation. Unseen light reveals something fresh and hidden within the world.
Model and MUA : Marian Millar.
Stylist: Lisa Lavery.
Light emitted by fire is the subject.
All images were photographed in outdoor environmental contexts.
There are three approaches:
(1) the detailed structure of fire;
(2) movement/poi exploring the energy of fire light;
(3) burning mannequins signifying the human condition.
Colour harmony is emphasised, especially complimentary colours such as orange and blue. Elemental forces (fire/light, earth, air, water) and associated metaphors are evident.
Structural abstracts of fire: fire generating equipment/logistics/safetyn: Patrick Bloomer.
Fire poi/movement: Clare Hawkins (FirePoise); Assistants: William Hawkins and Yan Taylor; Helios 440 / Helios 441: Fire/poi/assistance: Ian McRoberts.
Mannequin images: Assistant: Irwin McLean; Mannequins supplied by Joan Logan.
Locations: Northern Ireland.
A specially designed LED light suit abstracts the human form to shapes of light. Movements of the human body through the landscape leave residual traces of light. Light thus becomes a memory of action.
In the second series, the person was silhouetted in time by choreographed movements of light from a range of light painting tools.
Model: Rebecca M;
Light painting (second series): Yan Taylor;
Costume design: Heather Long;
Assistants: Yan Taylor, Jeremie McRoberts, Ian McRoberts;
Logistics (France): Ian McRoberts;
Locations: France and Ireland.