Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day for night

Untitled, San Francisco, August 2007.

In cinematography, "day for night" refers to shooting night scenes during the day in order to avoid the expense and hassle of filming at night. With this technique, day is made to simulate night with the use of filters, old film stock, underexposure, and other sorts of tweaks. "Day for Night" is also the title of a hilarious film by François Truffaut about everything that could go wrong while shooting a movie, a must-see for film lovers.

These dark pictures resemble night scenes, but they were actually shot in late afternoon daylight when San Francisco light is at its harshest. The trick, which works best in uneven lighting conditions, is achieved by metering exposure against the brightest part of the frame. This underexposes the other elements or turns them completely black. When subjects enter the bright light, they are perfectly exposed. The light sets apart their faces and gestures from the rest of the scene, as if lit by a strobe, albeit, a natural one.

1 comment:

  1. Again, I can't quite place the body of work as a product of any stylistic language in photography -- I'd have to admit the style is unique. The blond girl with the LV bag is most arresting -- the imbalance of the shot (character moving away from than than the usual going towards the center of the picture plane), the long shaft of darkness in the middle and the beautifully exposed columns in the back are evocative of something romantic, certainly not belonging to the cold iPOD decade that we live in today. Gertrude Kasebier and Edward Steichen used a lot of "dark as light" shots in which the dark portions of the photograph seem to take on a shape or form of its own instead of a blank space (as darkness should be). This mental play on light (or its absence) therefore becomes part of the intrique of the shot. I see this happening here. Kudos.
    -- AVSison