LIGHT + TIME = FORM
The [Basic] Equation
Long fascinated with light, I went out (in mid Winter) and bought a number of hand-held fixtures in a variety of wattages and configurations: Fluorescent, incandescent, large, small, flashlights—even lasers. My motivating concept was largely about “play,” to discover what might unexpectedly be revealed as my solitary performance with these fixtures was frozen in stop-motion image.
I found, as you can see, that light isn’t only a source of illumination, but a wonderful creator of form. As the result of my camera’s shutter speed and aperture, there are arcs and solid curves, precise circles and “solid” planes; there are texts (written backwards) in mid-air; and there is, of course, the contrast of the looming darkness—and all that it implies.
Performing/being alone with my actions—only to let the single image have the final ‘word’—is a big part of what moves me in this project. Also the fact that I am using very basic materials, with only my cozy apartment for a setting, or, when I’m shooting outdoors, near-empty vistas of winter snow. Visual drama, it seems, can be set on a very basic stage.
The camera has long been regarded as an “instrument” used for capturing the moment; here, I’m using it as kind of metronome—one that let’s me dance [alone] with Time.
The Process [Outdoors] and the Proof
I have to wait until dusk when shooting outdoors. Nature requires that I alter my process in other ways well, because there are more variables in play: no walls or furniture to stop the light from traveling; the uncontrolled reflectivity of all the snow; the bitter cold that demands I work bundled up, and (unless I want my fingers to freeze, which they have) in less then a two hours.
I’ve concentrated my time in a location called Vieksniai, a small village in Lithuania, as well as a forest that’s 2km away. My shooting time is about 8–10 seconds; my compression and processing time around 10–15 seconds. I leave the camera stationery (on a tripod) and move the lights, timing the whole action so as not to show my steps. I usually spend around 5 minutes shooting without knowing what any of the outcome wilt be. Then I check what I’ve gotten thus far in mid process, and try to stage the rest.
That said, many photos get shot without my even knowing it, as the camera is set by me on a timer for the above time delay and processing, so some photos come out with totally unpredictable results.
So, what is the final equation? Is this project simply harnessing photography’s main strengths: capturing the moment, harnessing the unpredictable? Or, is it about something more intangible: a concept of what it means to take a walk/be alone with elements—thoughts, feelings, Light—that can’t be ever expressed, or contained?
Art is an undeniable record, so for now, let’s assert that the photos I make are all “true”: a walk was taken; the snow was deep (before it melted); seconds elapsed and I was in them. I (and my camera) hover, often unseen, around the perimeter of the frame, much like the darkness that surrounds, and makes visible, the Light.