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1am with John Singer Sargent

February 22, 2012

It’s late and I’m preparing material for my Music Inspired Imagery class tomorrow at The Hui. My brain seems to work best at night when the world is quiet and still. Although, I’d really like to shift this night owlishness to earlybirdness. Why? I don’t know, just seems healthier to get up early with the sunrise and go to bed at a more reasonable hour. Reasonable; now there’s a word worth exploring. What’s reasonable, really? I digress, as usual…

So, I’ll be talking about light and exposure with my little class tomorrow and thought it would be nice to show how some painters portrayed light at the same time photography was becoming accepted as a viable form of portraiture. Daguerreotypes. Cabinet Cards. Window light and long, long exposures. It’s said that Vermeer used the camera obscura to aid in his portrait paintings 200 years before fixed, stable, photographic images were created. When looking at the body of his work his compositions do resemble the candidness of photographs. A chair is partly in frame, shoes are left by the broom – everything isn’t perfectly in place, or perhaps they are, like many shoots I’ve been on, placed perfectly out of place to appear natural.

Then there’s John Singer Sargent. I get excited about taking portraits when I look at his paintings. Beautiful, elegant, but also a bit awkward. His subjects look noble yet human. I hope to convey that in my portraits.

It’s very late. I need to stop eating up this inspiration and finish my homework.

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