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The High / Low of Photography

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

No, I am not writing about the photographer's mood but rather the ability of photographs to convey mode by the use of a lot of light (high key) or not so much light (low key). Have a look at the two images, below. What do they make you feel / think?

The image of the reeds in Lake Pearson was deliberately exposed so that there was no real foreground or background. High key images generally don't have a lot of shadows, however, I chose to keep the reflection as it adds to the drama and does allow the viewer to know that water was involved. I really like the peaceful, zen-like feel of this image.

In contrast (!) this young Padaung woman is framed in shadow. The effect here (while not an extreme example of low key) brings the viewers attention straight to her gentle face. It is softer and moody.

The woman, photographed, worked in a traditional weaving centre on Lake Inle. As the pandemic and military coup continues to wreak havoc on Myanmar I often find myself thinking of these beautiful and gentle people.


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