The Dance of Glass and Light

I am continuing my explorations of the patterns light makes when it interacts with common objects. I discussed this previously in my post The Dance of Light. Now I am interested in capturing an image of the object and well as the light patterns. It is tempting to think of the images of the objects as “realistic” and the light patterns as “abstract”, however both are real phenomena existing in the real world. I try to capture the images of both as realistically and as accurately as possible.

But what does “realistic” and “accurate” mean? The range from the brightest to the dimmest regions I am photographing exceed the capability of both camera and eye. Only by taking multiple exposures and combining them using High Dynamic Range techniques do all the elements of the pattern emerge. Are artifacts created during this process? Who can say?

In these images we see that everything has a dual (at least!) nature. Light reflected from an object and focused on our retina or a camera’s sensor forms one representation of that object. A representation we call an “image”. Without thinking we believe these images are the “true” representation of the object. People react to photographs as evidentiary truth. Even photographers well versed in interpreting a scene, much less Photoshop manipulation, need to consciously put this reaction aside. These images show that light can also create a completely different representation of an object. This representation is no less real or accurate. The common becomes the uncommon, with its own beauty.

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