Painting with light

Thinking of a peaceful afternoon, when the sun warms up your face and your thoughts are free. Refuge Dondena, Aosta Valley, Italy.

Exactly one year ago, together with my partner, we hiked up to Ruitor Glacier, in the Italian Alps. It was a delightful hike through forests ablaze with colour, waterfalls and rainbows, moraines and glacier lakes. Just before reaching the glacier there was a vast field of golden, glittering grass, waving into the wind and spreading in the air a flavour of roasted grains under the autumn, but still powerful mountain sun. Mesmerized, I stopped and tried to capture with my camera the magic of what i was seeing and feeling through all my senses.

When I got back home and checked the photos, I was hoping to see something that will bring back to me the magic of that moment. To my disappointment, i couldn’t  find what I was looking for.

Except for one photograph.

There were several shots, all taken from the same spot, almost under the same angle and at the same time, but only one could bring back to me the magic of that moment. I was checking the photos once and again in order to figure out what was different about that one photograph.

And then it came to me! The secret was hiding in the mere name of photography. Photography comes from combining the greek words phōtos (light) and graphé (drawing), meaning “drawing with light”, which has to do with how technically a picture was obtained in a camera obscura (darkroom), by exposing certain chemicals to light. But to me, “drawing with light” was just starting to acquire a completely new meaning.

That one photograph, was taken at the precise moment when the rays of sun were breaking through the clouds with the correct intensity and under the proper angle to be reflected by the golden field of grass in the foreground and by the glacier’s snow in the background, creating a magic aura and giving three-dimensionality to the scene. The same photograph taken one second later, when the intensity of the sun was diminished by a passing cloud, was looking a bit washed out and sad. That was the moment when I’ve realized what I truly wanted to have in my photographs. Not just a landscape, or a face, but a feeling, a memory, an emotion. And the presence or the absence of light can change completely the way we react on photograph. It is that perfect combination of light and shadow that makes each of us react and feel in slightly different ways.

For me, photography is a journey to capture the light. Not just sun or stars’ light, but our own light, what makes us glow with happiness or cry like a baby, what makes us feel safe or wanting to go out from our comfort zone and look for new experiences; what we need, what we fear, what we wish for.

I believe that all of us, we have our own internal light that guides us through life. We just need to let it shine and show us the way, show us what we really need.

We have the power to paint with light our life.

Do these photographs make you experience any feelings? If yes, what?

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