Archives for September 2014

Light in Photography – Dr Jerry Hankins

Daylight Photography

Daylight Photography

Light is everything you see. Light is everything that is seen in a photograph. It is important to understand the direction of light, its degree of diffusion and other factors that go into making the perfect photograph.

Reading other’s photography can be very helpful. It is enjoyable and it can help you make smarter, ¬†more deliberate decisions in your own photography. It’s quite simple and once you figure out the basics you can guess the setups and settings use by that photographer, analyze your own images, and continue to improve.

As in all things, one must understand the basics and master them. Any basic mistake made can make or break how a photograph, or a photographer’s professionalism is perceived. As a rule, direct light creates dark shadows that have hard edges. If there is a smaller source of light far away from your subject the harder those edges will be. Diffused light acts differently and may come from different directions and shadows may not exist at all. As an example, think of the difference between a sunny day where you have a well defined shadow and a cloudy day where light is essentially coming from all directions in the sky. Direct vs. diffused.

From a practical standpoint use diffused light to soften shadows if, for example, you have a subject with an uneven surface that you do’t want to emphasize. If you are taking photos of people (or yourself) and you want it to look flattering take photos in diffused light situations. and dramatic photographs are best done with direct light. You can often see photographs of direct sunlight from a window or crack in a wall being used to create an intense feeling to its viewers.

Backlighting is often used to create very romantic images, emphasizing your subject. This can be difficult to use on a smartphone, for example, but if you find a good angle or shadowed area use it, the results may be to your liking.

Jewish Owed Art Reparations

A Painting named Stole.

A Painting named Stole.

In 1953, the Washington Principles, or Weidergutmachung were enacted by the German government which agreed to pay reparations to the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. In 1998, 44 countries agreed to the Washington Principles. Over the course of many years the reparations have added up to over 50 billion dollars. This, along with the recent Terezin declaration, were made to promote restitution to the victims of the holocaust.

In a recently released report, the Italian government has recently been identified by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the World Jewish Restitution Organization as one of the countries not doing any research to find art and other cultural remnants that were stolen from Jews during the second world war. This is the same government that made international pleas to repatriate its art after World War II. Russia, Poland, Argentina, Spain, and Hungary were also reported to not have put forth enough effort to research the history of many works of art in their countries. However, Italy was especially negligent, even refusing to post information tracking items’ ownership during and before the war.

There remains much art that was either bought in unfair circumstances or outright stolen from Jews during World War II that is either missing or has not been returned. Of the 44 countries that agreed to find and return stolen works of art only a third have done sufficient work towards that end, per the report.

Germany is also an interesting case as they were mentioned in the report released yesterday to have done sufficient work, but just a year ago a man named Cornelius Gurlitt, 80, was hiding hundreds of works stolen or bought under pressure. In total, the art was valued at $1.4 billion, and included works by Matisse and Picasso. Reportedly, the German authorities had known about the pieces two years prior. In fact, the investigation had started in 2010 when Gurlitt was caught with over $12,000 dollars in crisp notes.

As far the United States, they are reported as being somewhere in between good and bad. There was one case that the report mentioned where the United States actually seized a famous 16th century painting while it was in the US on loan. Italy had claimed it was not aware of any evidence that it was ill-gotten.