Chasing Shadows-Ted Hiebert on photography

“Light is not merely what appears”: using  Plato’s allegory of the Cave  as a starting point, and drawing from his own photographic work, Ted Hiebert identifies the paradoxes that characterize the capture of light, in photography, revealing hidden elements that tend to disappear during the immediate or direct observation.

recalling Susan Sontag’s statement that the “camera is a predatory object” Hiebert explained how photography gives and takes at the same time. In fact, it both lightens, while capturing and partially removing life from the object it portrays.  At the same time, the very process that leads to the final product, the printed photo, has to be conducted in the dark.

While  a product of the modulation of light, photography is indebted to darkness. In fact, darkness, not light, represents photography’s possiblilities: The photographer is always seeking to find unexposed possibilities, that is, what remains, once light has been utilized and exploited in the composition of a picture. Thus, it is not what we see that we long to explore, as it has already been exposed, but what we don’t see,  because it represents a potential yet to be revealed.

As theory of color explains, when light is transformed into appearance, the appearing object is always different according to dissimilar manifestations of light. For instance, what color is grass? what is the difference between the appearance of “grass” as we see it in a printed picture and its negative? Appearance is never able to reproduce the entire thing, as the resulting image is merely a function of an object that reflects light.

is light really the absence of darkness? even in the darkness vision does not shut down. We still see stuff from the visual world. images we see in the dark become allucinations of their own. Thus, imagination becomes a light source of its own.