PhotographerAras Karimi
PrizeHonorable Mention
City/CountryLos Angeles, United States
Photo Date2010
Entry Description

Light is the subject of my works. Unlike the usual process in photography that uses light as a mean to record a scene and tell its story, I am interested in light as a story teller. In fact the scene in my works is the medium to picture light, its mood on different surfaces, and its personality in different spaces.

About Photographer

I was only 5 years old when light first grabbed my attention. I was sitting in a room by a window with shuttered heavy curtains, leaving only a small distance in between them, where a miracle was happening. Contrasting with the dark room, a ray of light was brightening a narrow space where I could see the playful movement of dust in the air that was visible to me for the first time. I was mesmerized, not just for seeing the dust but for feeling something novel, powerful, and beautiful: light. I left the room, not knowing that for years to come light would keep stealing my attention. And from the light circles on the bazaar’s floor, reflections of colored windows in the day and the last moments of a fiery sunset in the seaport where I lived in north of Persian Gulf, I could see light declaring its inimitable splendor over and over. When came the time to decide what field of study to focus on at school, my answer was clear: Art. When the question was narrowed down to my choice of medium, I was still very clear: Photography. I was even determined about my subject: light. The unpredictable process of photography however was my first click to a world of uncertainty and of course opportunity. My earlier efforts to capture light through photography were total failure, except learning what not to do. The fact was that although I was trying to record light, the results were pictures of still objects such as chair, table or curtain; I needed the objects to capture the reflections, to use them as the medium. But Somehow those “preset subjects” in our mind could easily become the center of attention of my pictures, and light would become barely a tool to depict them. No matter how I would play with the contrast, color, brightness or sharpness during photography, the results would become pictures of objects, not light itself. They were just still objects in the pictures with no essence of what I could see on the wall. The fact was light never had a portrait in our mind. Potentially and historically, light was always the modest messenger for other portraits. None of the viewers of my earlier photos had an “image” of light in their mind to compare my work to, and feel it regardless of the object in the picture. Therefore my effort give subjectivity to light seems impossible. But I wasn’t convinced. While being agonized that I couldn’t express what I was seeing, I was experimenting with my camera to capture this invisible beauty. This struggle went on until little by little I discovered if I take pictures with longer shutter speed and move the camera, shapes of objects start to break and the border between them fades. They are still there, letting the light reflect on them and announce its playful existence, but the deformed objects cannot cease the attention of the photo anymore. Finally I could record light in its own naked nature, its movement, its various characters and textures, and it variation in time in my pictures. Finally light was becoming the main subject of my works. And it has stayed as the theme of my current works. I capture light through a process and technique I have developed myself. It takes a lot of patience. Sometimes I set the camera in a location and take pictures of natural light through time, sometimes I move the camera with the change of light in time. I choose many different surfaces and shapes as a medium to show the variance of light. Photography has become a meditation for me. Sometimes I should let go of how camera moves, sometimes I strictly control the situation. What cheers me up are the results, the ability to depict my child fascination and share it with others: the irresistible playful beauty of light.