January 5, 2022

Vacation + New Surroundings = A Light Camera

At times, the camera seems heavy.  However, on vacation, staying at the TownePlace Suites astride the Chelsea Creek in Chelsea, MA, I headed out in pre-sunrise frigid temperatures, delighting in a fresh and photogenic environment.  A formula: vacation + new surroundings = a light camera 


Famed photographer Jay Maisel, speaking at Hallmark Institute of Photography where I used to teach, opined:  Everyone says the light is incredible in Florence.  It's not that the light is any different.  It's just that when you are on vacation and not thinking about your mortgage or job, the light is amazing. 

Angular Glow
I loved the way The Chelsea Street Bridge changed before my eyes as the sun crested the across-the-creek East Boston triple deckers, light going from flat to angular.  Working on the in-camera multiple exposure below to accentuate color and shape, the tones and shards evoked the paintings of famed Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas.  I pulled up Douglas' The Judgement Day for reference.

Homage to Aaron Douglas

Later in the morning I sat with another famed photographer Lou Jones, in his East Boston studio.  He got a kick out of Maisel's Florence and light story.  Don't miss Jones' panAfricaproject: "Redefining the Modern Image of Africa".  Jones is off to Kenya next month.

The trick is to bring the same curiosity and wonder to photography even when at home thinking about the job and mortgage.  May my camera be light.

John Nordell teaches courses in the Visual and Digital Arts Program that he created at American International College in Springfield, Mass. He blogs about the creative process at CreateLookEnjoy.com