Chiaroscuro Lighting

by: mlove

In this photo the excess has been obscurred in shadow bringing your attention to the subject. What is left in the photo has more gravity and is more striking.

Chiaroscuro is an Italian word which combines ‘chiaro’ (clear) and ‘oscuro’ (obscured). It is often translated as ‘light and shadow’ due to the way certain areas of a photo or painting are obscured in darkness and other areas are highlighted with light. Caravaggio is accredited by many to be the first artist to use this method in his paintings though it was popularized and further developed by Rembrandt van Rijn. In photography chiaroscuro lighting is sometimes called Rembrandt lighting. This is one of my favorite kinds of lighting in photography and has a greater range of usefulness than I originally thought. Sure, it can be used to give a seedy, noire feel to a photo, but it can also

Chiaroscuro lighting was used to great effect in Marlon Brando's monologue scenes in Apocalypse Now, reflecting his torn and tormented psyche.

be used to highlight the elements of a more innocent photo, obscuring the unwanted and drawing your attention to the subject. I have included the link to a website that talks about the different implementations of chiaroscuro lighting as well as a link to a site that gives some tips on improving chiaroscuro lighting in photography.


1 Comment

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One response to “Chiaroscuro Lighting

  1. rogerandfrances

    Kindly remove the stolen picture at the beginning of this piece as you do not own the copyright.

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