Editors Note: At the time of this article’s release, Brian Day had two separate accounts on Flickr. Mr. Day has since removed his older of the two accounts, to which this photo was a part of. As such, this photo is no longer directly linkable to Flickr. We will continue to host the photo here on our site so long as Mr. Day permits.
Light is incredibly powerful, and it can be manipulated in a number of ways to create an emotion. Brian Day reminds us of that fact with his photo, Awakening. The photo, shown here, appears to be naturally lit with morning or evening sun – despite the photo’s title, it really could be either. But the power behind the photo are the shadows carved out of the light. Personally, I love how the majority of the shot is in shadow. It allows us to see some of the finer details we would miss without such harsh side-lighting, such as the highlights on the edge of the banister or the defined shape of the baseboard molding. I also like the suggested context. The window is not truly in the shot, though it is clearly implied by the shadows cast by the window frame.
Let’s back out for a minute and look at the simple composition. You will note that the darkest portion of the photo is at the bottom of the frame. There is enough light and detail to imply the bottom two steps and the banister itself, but not enough to throw the composition out of balance. I would consider the brighter area of this photograph to be the “weight” in the shot. And the center of the weighted area is roughly a third from the top of the page. I don’t think that was by accident. The crop is not an accident either. One might have easily cropped this down to a 4×5 ratio, but the critical mass of darkness at the bottom of the frame would not anchor the photo.
I feel that Awakening is very playful with the light. The balance of the light and dark areas creates a creepy feeling. I love creepy. The title throws a different perspective: What, exactly, is awakening? Maybe I’ve watched too many horror movies. But regardless of that fact, this shot is incredibly inspiring. I hope you all have learned something from Brian’s work.
Be sure to check out more of brian’s work: b.plus’ at Flickr.