Reflection: Exposure vs luminosity

In my first shadowgram study I explored the evolving image from a fixed position like a mindfulness meditation exercise, showing a conveyor of images piercing and disappearing from the frame. My second study was an uninterrupted light reflection that gradually moved out of position.

Here my third experiment with a shadowgram works with the fading of the light source (the sun) at the end of the day. In response to a quote by György Kepes, that "Light rays covering an image are able to interpenetrate one another, light increases light, shadow deepens shadow. The result is greater intensity." (Kepes, 1944/2012, p.80). As this intensity depreciates, the shadow pattern is affected in the face of increased exposure times. Unlike my first study, which is reflective of mindfulness, here the image is based on focused attention.

What I am distilling in these studies is the relativity of light and exposure in a simple, abstract form. Something that Félix Nadar argued that: "The theory of photography can be learnt in an hour and the elements of practising it in a day . . . What cannot be learnt is the sense of light, an artistic feeling for the effects of varying luminosity and combinations of it, the application of this or that effect to the features, which confront the artist in you." (Tagg, 1988, p.53). In other words it is a study not a conclusion, something to be practiced. If I were to arrange this selection in terms of intensity, the corresponding exposure times would be out of sequence.

 Fig. 1.  Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 Apertures, 10 Speeds, 2 Mirrors)  (1971)

Fig. 1. Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 Apertures, 10 Speeds, 2 Mirrors) (1971)

Upon reflection, it also places a challenge on what was presented in John Hilliard’s conceptual work (see fig. 1.) which at the time, showed the limitations of mechanical processes in a static condition. As we consider a more postmodern concept of the conditions of the photograph, we must also consider that these conditions too are also in a constant state of flux.

Initially I considered Hilliard’s work as a way of presentation for these studies, however a logical presentation would detract from the message. Something to consider further in terms of output, but for now I am happy with the execution and consolidated learning's of these exercises, which I will look to summarise in my A2 submission.


Kepes, G. (1944/2012). Language of Vision. USA: Literary Licensing, LLC.

Tagg, J. (1988). The Burden of Representation. London: MacMillan Press.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Hilliard, J (1971) Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 Apertures, 10 Speeds, 2 Mirrors) [Photograph] At: (Accessed on 13.09.18)