Feb 9, 2009

the snow is greener

I just returned from making some photos. We are getting some daylight back, and this past weekend in particular was nothing short of glorious. I'm finally feeling some energy build. This darkness wears on me over time. It seems, this winter, that it wore me out sooner - it's barely February and i've been on the verge of being a mess mostly.

It dawned on me today though, that it's not so much the darkness, or working in the dark, it's the absence of a sort of color reset. Reality fades. I forget what daylight looks like. I forget what colors represent. I stare at prints and my eyes go wonky. I lose a sense of balance and perspective.

I enjoy making photos in the dark, and have made an effort this winter to brave the relative cold and get on with it. It's the time in between that gets difficult. I firmly believe the dull hum of constant artificial light to be the sound of hell, where the Happy Light becomes a dastardly, taunting, lie by January.

The truth I've come to terms with this winter though, is that I've slacked off during the toughest times. Admitting laziness is a bitter pill. Over half our year is spent in relative cold and darkness, and my work to this point is generally sunny. I've become soft.

Come July there aren't options to shoot at night - not in the dark anyway. making photos in the warm sun of July at midnight is something absurdly special, but noon darkness of January is equally so. It's been over three years, and the day/night reality still catches me wanting. It's a crutch I know.

Whether this winter will yield substantial work is yet to be seen, but the effort is gratifying.


ramin said...

As a native of Finland (around the same latitude as Alaska and thus same changes in daylight/night), I've always loved how the amount of light changes. Of course, during the darkest part of the year it does get frustrating to only see light from your office window.

As a photographer I've now come to appreciate the differences in light even more. If offers new perspectives to even familiar environments.

On thing I envy the inhabitants of more southern latitudes is the blueness of the sky. Only around midsummer does the sun get high enough to create a deep blue in the sky.

ben huff said...

thanks for the comment Ramin. i think i would find it easier if i wasn't shuttered in five days a week. the feeling of the days coming back in April is worth it all though - we northerners have very short memories.

i particularly like the Jan 19th photo on your blog.

Elizabeth Fleming said...

This is a fantastic entry. Your writing is engaging and wonderful. I know the winter doldrums only too well, and I'm only in New Jersey. I think there's a natural cycle to making photographs, and perhaps it's more of a hibernation than laziness that you're experiencing. This is what I tell myself about my winter blahs at least...Thanks for the excellent post.

ben huff said...

Elizabeth, i like that - hibernating sounds so much more regal.

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