In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminatedAugust Sander
Who hasn’t explored a building, maybe an impressive fortress or palace, and had one of those ‘wow’ moments as you emerge from the darkness of the building to an arch or window revealing the lightness outside?
I’ve talked recently about the compositional possibilities of framing in photography. In recent years I have become attracted to the specific framing possibilities offered by arches and openings in various buildings I have been privileged to visit around the world. Through these features we can look from a place of relative darkness into the light beyond. Or maybe the opening will let the light spill into our space, inviting us out? I like the drama of shadows contrasting with these lighter places; so much so that I’ve been known to boost the contrast when editing, or perhaps add a vignette to darken the outer edges of the image.
Looking out through Hathi Pol (the Elephant Gate) of Bundi Palace; I was lucky to spot this local man enjoying the early morning light. In editing I darkened the shadows further to create this silhouette.
This is the view Shah Jahan would have had from his private palace, the Khas Mahal, at Agra Fort.
Looking out from the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) in Amber Fort near Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The view of Udaipur from a window in the City Palace.
A view of the central courtyard of the Kalon Mosque in Bukhara, taken from the entrance; this is the largest mosque in Uzbekistan.
Another view of the courtyard of the Kalon Mosque; the central octagonal pavilion is a 19th century addition designed to improve the acoustics and amplify the voice of the Imam as he delivers his Friday sermon.
A much more modern mosque, the Grand Mosque in Salalah, Oman.
Our guide waits for us in the next room of the ruins of Telouet, in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Inside the atmospheric Medersa Ali Bin Youssef in Marrakesh, a former Koranic school offering a rare opportunity to see inside a traditional religious building (mosques and active medersas being off-limits).
In the Palais de la Bahia, Marrakesh, looking out at one of the leafy courtyards from the part known as the small riad (small being a relative term!)
Still in Marrakesh, this is another leafy courtyard in the Musee Dar Si Said, its vivid greens glowing as you emerge from the dimmer interior on a hot day.
Looking out at the gardens of the Palazzo Pfanner in Lucca on a dull rainy day; you can see two people walking on the city walls beyond the garden.
A very different view, looking out at the Mekong River from the Pak Ou Caves in Laos.
Here a shaft of sunlight falls on a Buddha statue in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, hinting at the light outside.
And to finish, a quotation that is very apposite for our times:
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.Desmond Tutu