Over the past Spring, I had the great fortune and privilege to go on my first real camping trip on the Blue Ridge Mountains with some new friends that I made last semester. I think it’s important to go on trips like these so that we may remind ourselves of the harsh, unforgiving nature of environments outside of our urban landscapes. In addition to this, recognizing the beauty of such places is also a good way to mentally reset one’s self. Part of that beauty is light.
Because most work is done in the studio, I think natural light sometimes gets a bad rep. We have rules like utilizing the Golden Hour and we often need to diffuse the sun in some way when taking photos outside. But the real reason I think natural light gets a bad rep is because of how fickle it can be and because we look at photos regularly. We forget to look outside with our eyes. I took these unedited photos with my phone, and they’re beautiful photos, but my point is that when the light actually caresses one’s face, the sight, I think, surpasses any photograph. Even in the winter, the grayness of the world is melancholic. And yes, I most certainly am attributing beauty to presence. I could edit these photos and make them much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but even then I would posit that the true impact isn’t there. Seeing a professional photograph or scan of a Renaissance painting is much different than standing in front of one. This break reminded me that even if I can’t go on a camping trip to see natural beauty, I should at least appreciate the natural light around me whenever I do outside.