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Author Topic: Rembrandt Lighting  (Read 6751 times)
ahbriggs
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« on: July 29, 2012, 10:00:50 PM »
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I've recently conducted a study on art ranging from ancient to contemporary and it's implications in culture. I found the most astonishing artist to be Rembrandt due to the connection between painting and photograph. I was wondering what standout modern photographers still use this lighting technique aside from Joel Grimes?
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 09:56:48 AM »
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I've recently conducted a study on art ranging from ancient to contemporary and it's implications in culture. I found the most astonishing artist to be Rembrandt due to the connection between painting and photograph. I was wondering what standout modern photographers still use this lighting technique aside from Joel Grimes?


Almost anybody I can remember from the 50s was adept at using a single source, be it brolly or window or any number of similar devices. The multi-lights style of portraiture was already thought of as dead in the water along with its famous exponents. For heads, think Bailey, Penn, Watson and many others who went along their own paths, but that didn't mean they didn't know how to play along to other beats, just that their own were more fun and less complicated to construct and because of the freedom, less dull in outcome. How many exquisitely sterile compositions has anyone seen in the photo-mags and on art auction sites... might as well shoot casts from a museum.

Rob C
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 02:59:30 PM »
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Rembrandt was simply painting window light.  That's how people look in interiors in the absence of electricity, nearby reflectors, or large numbers of windows.  Turn off the lights, go over to the window, you got Rembrandt light.  We've all used it if only by default or as a last recourse.  Too common a look for many of Rembrandt's contemporaries, most upper class photo subjects would rather have been seen in more luminous environments, with carried the implication of wealth and the extravagant numbers of expensive glass covered windows that could bring.

Rembrandt actually got the look from Caravaggio, who was a few decades older.  Caravaggio was an art bad boy who painted relatively shocking subjects in really hard, unattractive, directional light, and let's just say he sometimes challenged conservative family values.  Rembrandt softened things up a bit and chose less controversial subjects.  Rembrandt was a north light type of guy, whereas Caravaggio often had hard, direct sunlight pouring through his window.  But both very photographic, and Caravaggio in particular had a very sharp lens indeed.
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rjkern
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 04:17:57 PM »
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Such a timely post!!!

Touring the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Museum of Art last month reminded me of the importance of his lighting style:

1, His lighting style stands the test of time. No fad, here. Most people have heard of it. There’s something to be said about a technique that has stood the test of time by a few hundreds years. It’s good to know that wedding photography today won’t be shunned in 50 years

2. He shared as much as he created in painting schools. Like, he had ‘followers.’ His creative school shaped his vision.

3. He created portraits of people favored in their best light. This concerns both painters and photographers alike. The human face responds best to certain types of light. Rembrandt’s trademark triangle of light on the cheek bone flatters the face, a reason it graces the covers of fashion magazines today. It just so happens north facing studios back in those days had not only cheaper rent, but softer light.

I applied these basic lessons into this wedding day portrait Lindsey & Matt in Chicago on last Saturday, as if Nigel Barker and Tim Gunn stood next to me, chanting ‘Make it work.’

More thoughts and behind-the-scenes glimpse here:
http://www.kern-photo.com/index.php/2012/09/rembrandt-inspires-phaseone-wedding-photography
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R. J. Kern
http://www.kern-photo.com - my blogsite and portfolio
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 06:17:25 PM »
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Such a lovely tonality, reminiscent of old masters, in that wedding photo!
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Slobodan

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petermfiore
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 06:44:47 PM »
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Not only was Rembrandt's light from a north facing window, the window was quite highly set in the studio. About 12'-14' at it's bottom edge. This gave the artist a very directional source of light that he could modify with shades etc., to control the quality of his light.

Peter





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Brett_D
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 10:42:23 AM »
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Caravaggio in particular had a very sharp lens indeed.
Well said.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 11:11:07 AM »
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... Rembrandt was a north light type of guy, whereas Caravaggio often had hard, direct sunlight...

Dutch light vs. Italian light?
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Slobodan

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