Chiaroscuro is the interplay of light and darkness. Usually, this interplay is pronounced, so there’s high contrast between the dark and light. According to Merriam-Webster, it is “the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art”. The works of painter Caravaggio and photographer Edward Weston provide some wonderful examples.
At a certain level, photography is all about light and darkness: The sensor of your camera catches the light coming through the lenses to create a photo. So it’s no wonder chiaroscuro appeals to artists–for many artists the visual world can often be seen as an interplay of light and darkness. That interplay defines the shapes we see.
This week I’m posting some images that focus a little on chiaroscuro, specifically, and on light in general.
Two rum bottles and a glass is probably the best example I currently have of a chiaroscuro photo. This is a scene I created myself. I arranged the bottles and the glass, then turned off the lights and used the intense light from a flashlight to illuminate the scene. In essence, I created my own chiaroscuro using a bright light in a dark room.