Light…Quality Directional

   The dry hot Santa Ana winds were blowing strong that morning as Sonia’s mom brought her to a small Catholic church in Clairemont Mesa for her Baptism. The name of the winds were thought to be of Spanish origin for ”Devil Winds.” The Satan winds were now dancing baby Sonia mom’s blondish hair, as she held the infant tightly against her white matching blouse. It was proud moment for the family and smiles were everywhere.

   The Catholic Priest holding the cut glass vase of Holy water was making a statement by sanctifying a life made out of wedlock. Bastard children are not looked upon kindly by orthodox religions. But my ritual participation as photographer was very orthodox. The Priest allowed me the vantage point as near as a kiss. I chose a fixed focal length of 24mm which on a full frame 35mm camera is slightly wide, but would not distort the geometry of the subject; but close enough to capture a panorama of the moment.

Baptism of Sonia Samson, 1988, San Diego, California

   The edges of the camera frame were used to ignore the personalities of all but baby Sonia. The gold rimmed vessel and the infant head were two beautiful ovals balancing their shapes upon an invisible line from thumbs to bow tie. The line finished its journey along a row of tiny buttons and exits the frame by a triangle of filigree.

   Even the photographer’s gadget bag became a witness to the descriptive qualities of light which are unique to the photographic process. Painters use light to imitate chiaroscuro (or light against dark), but the photographer is allowed to light reality with his sense of lit and not lit.

   Light for a photographer is the absolute essence of image making. Without light, the photographic frame would be lifeless, like a dry, hot wind on the mesa.

                                         All Content © Craig Carlson 2012 All Rights Reserved