Light, lines and moments…

girl in the lightlr

I tell my students that photographs can be reduced to light, lines, and moments. Everything else is derivative.The more I study photographs from the past century — the incredibly short lifespan of our art so far — the more convinced I am that everything’s been photographed, that our challenge now is to manipulate light, lines, and moments in the frame in a way that expresses our unique view of those so oft-photographed subjects.

David Duchemin

I often find myself resonating with the writings of photographer David Duchemin in his books and on his blog, but this quote in particular really hit home.

Don’t you find yourself thinking sometimes that everything has been photographed — and way better than you can do it — so what’s the point exactly?

Well, as Duchemin says, it has. So I find it incredibly helpful to think in terms of light, lines and moments when I have my camera with me and we’re meditating together on what we see.

It is a rare, rare thing when they all come together — light, lines and the moment — but once in a blue moon they might — and you have yourself an image that speaks louder than any words.

This image is one of those for me. When I was photographing at the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, a young woman busker in a medieval-type dress with a tousle-haired toddler pulling at her skirts moved into the archway facing the staircase to start singing.

She had the voice of an angel. I think she was singing Gregorian chant because the words were not intelligible to me, but that didn’t matter. It was a moment when time stopped. I raised my camera to my eye and clicked.

This image, which is now framed on my wall, brings it all back every time I raise my eyes to look at it.

29 thoughts on “Light, lines and moments…

  1. WOW, Sherry, this is a strong and dramatic shot, full of life and magic! You truly have captured all 3 elements converged at the perfect moment in time here, forever freezing this for everyone to enjoy. Really well done, a top drawer shot!!!

  2. It’s a great quote by David Duchemin. When all those elements come together, magic happens. And all those elements do come together in this photograph. ‘Poetry’ is the word that came to my mind the moment I saw this image. 🙂 Excellent.

  3. Not sure who you are referring too, Susan, but I think of Adam Marelli who was trained in art and advocates the same thing, and it is really great advice. I learned a lot from him about figure to ground contrast. Thank you too for your kind words!

  4. yes, as they say, “there are no original ideas” and I agree with most everything Duchemin has written. I read a quote recently from another photographer (whose name escapes me at the moment) and he suggests putting down every book written about photography and encourages photographers to look at great art instead…I really like that idea. Anyway, I digress..I think I have a new favorite here Sherry, this image is extraordinary!

  5. It’s a beautiful image Sherry and I know those stairs…you captured it all in your own way and style and then made it yours even more with your wonderful editing… love it and I’m so glad you have framed it…a touching moment…
    Now, this is even more interesting to me as I sit here in Maine editing my New York photo’s…I don’t have anything as stunning as this but I do have some that I also love with the play on light…hopefully I’ll share a few today..
    Enjoy your weekend…

  6. Beautiful quote and absolutely amazing photograph, Sherry. Those are the best kind, that you can hang on a wall and have it always bring you back to that moment. It does have it all – light, lines, and the moment – and goes to show that there’s always something new around the corner.

  7. Brilliant photography Sherry, and yes some days i feel that way.. till i think out of the box:) and screw my head on the right way.. to find the lines :)!
    what an amazing capture… yes it must look awesome framed!!!

  8. Oh my!! This has to be one of your very top favorites to enjoy, right in your home! The moment was magical just from reading this, and I love the light and lines so much. Having the girl standing there, knowing she’s singing, such a special touch, a human touch. Amazing capture, Sherry!!

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