These images are concerned with the structural form of light – one of the preconditions for photography. The word ‘photography’ itself derives from the Greek words for ‘light’ and ‘writing’ and is a technology that developed concurrently with modern revelations regarding the nature of light. In this work, the camera lens itself is manipulated to record not conventional perspectival space, but light itself. Light is therefore both the subject and form of these photographs.
The photographs were inspired by the painting of the modernist avant-garde artists Robert and Sonia Delaunay and their concern with how three-dimensional perspective should be overturned for a new pictorial order. They both studied and painted new types of electric light appearing in Paris whilst being influenced by the philosophical ideas of Henri Bergson and concepts of the fourth-dimension that had gained currency within artistic circles. They transformed artistic representation into a structure that converged colour, rhythm, light and dynamism.
Although the ‘invention’ of photography was developed by a number of pioneering experiments, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s image circa 1826 is believed to be the oldest photograph made by a camera. The origins of photography are historically located with the very science of light, as Augustin Jean Fresnel developed a concept of an electromagnetic spectrum after his 1821 demonstrations of transverse light vibration and refraction. These were later incorporated into James Clerk Maxwell’s 1865 publication on electromagnetic fields, that demonstrated light was constituted by waves and not linear rays. Light was discovered to be mobile, could be harnessed and transformed. These photographs are in deference to the great modernist revelations regarding light within science and art.