In this series, we present a look-book of authentic photographs collected by the writers and editors here at Envato Tuts+. We hope these pictures inspire ideas, help kindle new projects, and give you a better understanding of visual communication.
This black and white photograph of a patch of light is immediately striking, but why? Let’s take a look.
The obvious thing to talk about here is the light—it’s the focus of the image (and not, interestingly, the window it’s shining though). The window does help to create the interest though; it’s either leaded or has bars, which make an appealing shadow on the floor. The carpet helps too, we can just see the pattern coming through.
We know this is a mosque. With the light coming through the window, there are many religious connotations to this image, too.
Whether a case of ‘right place, right time’ or by design, the light here is just right and because of this, we get a lovely long rectangle of sunlight on the carpet, filling the frame.
Other than the stool (or table perhaps) and a portion of the window, what we’re technically seeing is an empty room, but the light and shadow become our photograph’s focus. It’s funny to think that something not tangible is the subject of this image, yet despite the lack of physicality you can almost feel the warmth. I imagine the carpet heating up, hot beneath us.
Colourless and Matte
Matte in black and white photographs is a useful tool. Pulling up the darkest shadows (usually done in with a tone curve) gives a matte effect to the image, which also smooths out any potential noise in the shadows. The effect of this here is double, it’s also warming up those shadows, and so the photo.
It’s usually hard to convey warmth in a photograph with no colour, but when I see this, I don’t see a cold image. The subject matter, time of day (quality of light) and matte overlay all help to make this a warm, ‘cosy’ image.
Reading a Photograph
We’d love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you’re not sure where to begin, then How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly, it’s just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!