Photography is a ‘way of life’ that assumes its essence of both serving and being out of a few vital components of its innate characterisation. Foremost among them would be the requirement of light that facilitates the entire process of photography in revealing ultimately its product as essentially a visual art and aesthetic. Naturally then, and much interestingly as well, tweaking the definite elements of light itself by directing the source of its stemming or controlling the extent of the subject upon which it plays its magic provide a setting for photography to unleash its own irresistible charm in creatively stilling the world.
This manipulation of reality to capture it in fantastical versions of imagining instead can be achieved by employing light in different types and techniques of working. The direction from which the light shines upon the object might seem to be the most non-technical way in evoking thus the versatility of the very principle upon which photography is rested. But the specifics affected by the light coming in from different quarters in much immenseness can transform the entire composition of an image. In then sense of imaging then even the most natural sources of light can prove to be much curated to assume thus a vividly technical character, depending on the accuracy in which they are made to attend to the image.
Very ordinarily occurring as top light and bottom light, front light and backlight or even sidelight for that matter, these directional specifications of light dictate entirely the fore of photography. The way and manner in which these lighting positions are adjusted to adjudge photographs as good and perfect and in similar such superlatives would be an art itself, involving a keen eye indeed in interpreting the most ambient field and form of vision. They can be each incredibly striking in their own individual way but even in such span of general brilliance, the backlight mode of commanding the spotlight holds special appeal.
What sets apart, or renders distinctive the backlit premise of photographic light isn’t just obvious in what it delivers as pictures. The effect is also very poignantly captured even in its specific name that which lends almost poetic a dimension to this notion of occurrence. Outside its much evident backlighting reference, the reference unfurls as well in the parallel technique of contre-jour photography. And while the very contre-jour identity itself is one not exclusively alluding to photographing, the current relevance of it charms the most in such pictorial context.
A technique finding first expression in painting and from where it essentially crossovered into this aspect of the arts, the very literal meaning of contre jour ekes out already the essence of what curates it as and in embodying the frills of dramatic. A French expression that tends to an interpretation as being against daylight, this technique of photography might seem to be in sharp contrast to the general understanding of capturing images against the light resulting in a photo where the glare would obscure the subject. This would then defeat the entire purpose of photographing which is a reality not so hard to realise when one considers it in the worldliest context of such happening.
Challenging then this entire description of traditional photography and through it combating the all important assumption of light as well would be contre-jour photography that reveals as a dynamic depiction of even the most straightforward characters. In the contre jour technique, one photographs directly into the light with of course a great sense and sensibility of how and when to best captures images in- or against such light. The creative faculties called upon by contre-jour photography might even be more stressed therefore, with the range of its use needing to be specifically identified and carefully attended.
One element of the effectiveness of contre-jour pictures can be very encapsulating in their occurrence. Something as glaringly faulty as a flare of light can assume the definition of being effects instead through which the picture is rendered a quality that is unique and dramatic and differently but certainly aesthetic. It helps indeed that the modern breed of photography equipment and also the continually expanding horizons of the technical art itself is more allowing for such liberties to be taken and such indulgences entertained. It might be somewhat ironic though that something as traditional a technique to have been effectively employed in painting should be restricted by the definitely more modern identity of photography. But rely upon the evolving faculties of the human and no mode of the artistic is primitive enough to not hold some relevance in its magic.
The nature of contre-jour photography is such that is a composite draw upon many associated aspects of the practice. Thus even in its similar scape of expression upon those using low key lighting or the ones that identify as silhouette pictures, contre-jour photographs are distinct still in their own projection. Contre-jour images are more defined assertions of the shape and form of their subjects and while such explanation might tend closer to the idea of silhouettism, these against the light conjuring of the world encompass a greater substance as well.
The characteristic aspect of contre-jour photography is very evident in the image itself. It in fact is defining indeed a rendition of the technique that such photographs should capture also the backlight itself as part of the final frame. This essence is narrowly nestled in the technique- with its interpretation that occurs as ‘into the light’ necessarily allowing then for light to be retained even as it projects itself in the contours of the dark.
A contrast between the light and the dark is what contre-jour most essentially creates to achieve that end result of what captivates indeed the eye through an interplay of both elements. The style thus manifesting is one of immediate effect which makes it sought after a technique across the entire realm of this composition. The idea might assume some association in difficulty specially for those just starting out in their dabbling with the camera. And with the kind of intensity that contre-jour photographs present as, the ‘intimidatedness’ of them asserts as even more real. But with some practice and a definite attention to the process itself, contre-jour can be masterfully applied in photography and across such expressions that do not need to always identify as portraiture.
Backlighting works the best during the golden hours of photography- an hour each after sunrise and before sunset when the natural light is most conducive in its shining upon subjects and objects of potential capture. First artistic and only then technical in what it ends up creating thus is the technique of contre-jour that always yields stunning shots. Particularly well suited to such process of photography would be transparent and similar filmy materials that shine even grander in all those streaks of what lights them up from behind. But even otherwise, with ‘solid’ objects that include people as well, the notion of contre-jour photography can be made to work in all unmissability of their occurring.
Because the contre-jour technique bears the power of completely altering the appearance of the subject in consideration, they would be deceptive perhaps. Add to that the corresponding regarding of their practice being not particularly easy in their exploring of the nuances and the character of such difference asserts as much prominent. This is of course only an analogy in drawing but the way that contre-jour pictures pan out as entailings of greater creativity does only accentuate the details of this ‘deception’.
The shooting into the light evocation of contre-jour photography might essentially throw up images of a definite sunburst. But contre-jour is more than just this charming but clique curation of beauty. Which means that even outside the specific sunrise and sunset timeline, photographing against daylight can make for equally exceptional shots such that the drama reveals in not essentially distinct detail but also occurs in softer, lighter piquing of the emotional. Hiding the sun in part makes also for a oft- indulged plot in contre-jour photography as does the balance of light as a greater core consideration of this exploration.
In fact hiding the light source can lead to a specific span of contre-jour images, that appeals through the creation of a ‘halo’ around the subject captured such that they occur in a certain mythical nature of what therefore would hold elevated value in their emotional perceiving. The emotions of arousing in this regard are a necessary ‘standard’ for contre-jour to assume thus the image of perking up pictures with life- something that is allegorical indeed a reference explored through its very essence of the interplays of light and dark.
In lighting up the subject from behind, this style of photographing does not create the form complete in all details of its physicality. It also imbues the image with a certain mood and character that is very artistically held up within and throughout the glowing fringes of its exterior shape. Dramatic most certainly and atmospheric sparingly, all due to an intelligent, artistic positioning of the light source even when it is generally natural, contre-jour expands its wavelength against the light to produce such phenomenal photographic pursuits that are surreal across the dynamics through which beauty professes its character of all profusion.