Peter Solness is an acclaimed light painter who explores a range of subject material in his work, including landscape, architecture and portraiture. What makes his work unique is his meticulous approach to hand-lighting his images, using very long camera exposure times.
Tableau a deux, features his most recent work – a series of light painted portraits of creative couples living in various regional locations around Australia. They are done in the tableau vivant style of arranging motionless subjects in particular settings, then theatrically lighting them to evoke a visual narrative or story. The careful arrangement of lighting in this portrait series has been described as reminiscent of Caravaggio the great 17th Century Italian master who employed the theatrical effect of chiaroscuro in his paintings – a dramatic contrasting of light and shadow.
“I didn’t set out to intentionally create tableau-style images or to emulate past masters. My approach was determined by the technical challenges of my practice as a photographic light painter. This means posing people in complete darkness then asking them to remain as still as possible during my long camera exposures, while I move through the scene carefully illuminating my subjects and their surrounds with torchlight, in the same way an artist uses a brush. The fact that the portraits came to resemble tableau paintings was serendipitous.
For me, this series became an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of creative couples and consider the remarkable journeys each of these participants have had in reaching a place of shared dreams and endeavor with their intimate other.”
– Peter Solness
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