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A single light can he placed to create illumination on one side of the subject while casting the other side into shadow and darkness. The influence of placing the light on the side is that of hide-and-seek. The lighted side of the model can he translated as the shown side, or the known part of the model. The dark side of the model represents the unknown or hidden side. With side lighting I usually use a black card on the side opposite the light to deepen the black and increase the contrast; if I use a white card, that side opens up and becomes less dramatic. The power of contrast is what begins to come forward-dark and light, white and black. The strongest effect is produced when the light is placed at an extreme angle to the camera-subject line, say 90 degrees. The viewer is more accustomed to seeing the subject lit from the side at a 45-degree angle or from a frill frontal view. When the lighting is more extreme, the viewer's response to the portrait becomes extreme. The photograph takes on a powerful, hard look, and the image elicits an immediate response either of enjoyment or of disdain. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground when using light of this extreme; instead, the heightened contrast provokes either a positive response or a negative one. The dark and the light allow viewers to consider both the openness and the self creativeness of the model, the good and the evil. We give viewers an insight into the model; then we cut it off and allow them to decipher the rest. It is the difference between a radio drama and a television drama. The imagined is more powerful and penetrating than the given.
Tenebrism is what most laymen might refer to as a Rembrandt lighting technique. Tenebrism relies on an interplay between lights and darks. The subject is illuminated by one light source placed directly in front of the subject, but in close proximity so that the fall-off of light is extreme and the background remains dark. The overriding influence is the darkness. Imagine a dark room with a blaze in the fireplace and someone sitting near the fire. There are no other lights. Looking at the subject, you would see warm high- lights and surrounding darkness. The power of the darkness allows the photograph to become a study of lightness. It is through the interplay of the dark and light that you separate the model from the background. The highlights and light areas are not necessarily as bright as they might appear. The contrast between the dark and the light is what makes the lights appear so much lighter. To light in this manner, I use a bank light, which is a directional but diffused light. When you use tenebrism, it is usually important to use only one light, as this enhances the directional quality. With more than one light, you begin to flatten out the subject and lose the contrast between the light and dark areas.
The effect of window lighting lies somewhere between Open light as the name implies, this is a technique meant to imitate the look of light coining through a window and hitting the subject. There is a light fall off behind the face, but the light-to-dark relationship is more subtle than that of tenebrism. Window lighting is influenced by tenebrism, but because the light source is farther away From the subject, the lighting is softer and broader, thus opening up the surrounding areas. There is usually one light source but not always. When I artificially light in this mode, I use reflector cards to Further open up the shadow area, or on occasion, I use lower-power lighting . The overall elect should still look as iF there is only one light source. Window light's power is its ability to illuminate the model with enough reflective power to subtly introduce the nuances of the environment. With the nuances slightly lit, the viewer can interpret who the model is.