Forum competition results for March 2013 round – In the Shadows/Light and Dark

Representations of light and dark have always concerned artists. Take a look back at some the masterful paintings from the 17th and 18th century and you’ll soon begin to identify one of the most enduring lighting concepts of the art word – chiaroscuro. The term refers to the strong contrasts between light and dark. The concept has stayed with us and found a natural home in film noir and low-key b&w photography. But chiaroscuro lighting was just one way of interpreting March’s theme ‘In the Shadows / Light and Dark’. Some of you chose to use the theme to explore ideas of those abandoned on the fringes of society while others chose to not only shoot in colour but to use the theme in a more abstract manner, for example in Scphoto’s noir-like image.

I’m very pleased to see that people really thought about what they were going to show with their images. There were a great number of shots that really blew me away. First of all we have cas100uk, whose formalist image used the b&w tonal range to explore the interaction of light, shadow, texture and form. It’s a simple shot but one that stood out for me right away. There’s something so deadpan about it. Next we have Helander’s epic shot of Stob Bàn, a mountain situated in the Mamores Ridge, Scotland. Everything about this image is captivating. The way in which the light and shadows have isolated and emphasised little pockets of colour and texture impressed me greatly. It’s an image that has been taken at just the right moment. Lastly we have Kamepa with a simple graphic image of a tree, its shadow and the tranquil light of the day.

Samsung has kindly provided a 32GB SDHC for the winner, and 16GB SDHC cards for the
second and third places. First and second places also get an ‘Amateur
Photographer Loves My Pictures’ mug.

3rd Place
ainphotography – The Night Walker

This is a shot that I’m
genuinely fond of although it took me a while to get there. No doubt the
first thing people will pick up on is its imperfections – the light,
the framing, the timing, the subject matter. But for me, all these
things are what make the image a success. The first photographer that
came to mind when I viewed this shot was Daido Moriyama, whose grainy
monochrome shots take advantage of the abstract interplays of light and
texture found in the everyday. There’s something gritty and urban about
this shot. I’m particularly fascinated by the fact that the image seems
to have been taken a second or two too late. For instance, on the right we can see a
pedestrian just leaving the scene. The shutter speed isn’t quite quick
enough to freeze the action but this works just fine. The blurred
movement offers the overall image another level of uncanny abstraction.


2nd Place
Sharpneil – Hike

This image by Sharpneil is a great
demonstration of the graphic qualities of b&w photography. When the
distraction of colour is removed we are forced to consider the shapes and
textures. The image becomes about form. There’s so much to love about this shot – the fragile trees and their aligned shadows, the curve of the hill
versus the arc of the foot trail, the lone figure of the hiker, the atmospheric
light. I could go on. There’s perhaps room for improvement in the exposure (it’s
a little too dark although this could be a result of the upload). I think this
is a great interpretation of the brief.

1st Place
Skiddawman – Into the Dark Forest

There was no question in my mind about the winner of this round. ‘Into the Dark Forest’ knocked my giddy little socks off. I absolutely adore it. Skiddawman’s image is bleak and strange in a way that appeals to the darkest part of my imagination. A lot of things crossed my mind when I first looked at this. It made me think of the cold dark forests found in the Scandinavian regions of Europe. It made me think of solitude. In other ways it spoke to me of attempts to regress back to nature and give ourselves over to the stark animalistic urges we left behind or at least masked with notions of civilized social acceptance. I doubt Skiddawman had any of these things in mind when he took this image and tweaked it in post. It doesn’t matter. A single image can be renewed a thousand times with each viewing. No one will see the same thing. This image demonstrates that point perfectly. Skiddawman had a very particular process for achieving this shot but I won’t give the game away here because as far as I’m concerned the ends more than justify the means. Did I mention that I really, really love this picture!
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AP Forum competition results – sponsored by Samsung