Notes on Light
+June 16, 2019
Michala Norup (@michalanorup) is a Danish photographer living in Copenhagen and a member of BKF Danish Visual Artists. She is a working artist and educator with an MA from Aarhus University. Notes On Light is an ongoing project Michala has been working on for several years. The first time I saw Michala’s work I was intrigued. In the image of the silhouetted woman reflecting sunlight off a mirror, there is a perfectly created sun shape overlaying the subject. After learning about her process and the meaning behind her images, I admired her work even more.
Michala began this project as a study because of a profound interest in light, rather than directly working with the intent to create a photo series. The work began as an experiment and continues in this way.
It’s a form of note taking with the camera.
It is an opportunity for her to study light and how it interacts, illuminates, and creates an emotional narrative in a space. It was inspired by the relationship between light and time and where the two intersect.
Her work is also inspired by the early photography of the 18th century. Images created during Victorian times were done using cameras with a very slow shutter speed. If the subject was not absolutely still, motion blur would be captured. This technology was so new that when “ghosting” did occur in an image it was easily believed that something supernatural had been captured. Michala is enthralled by this concept and the dialogue between fiction and fact. It is a source of inspiration for this continued body of work. The photo of Michala sitting on a mattress surrounded by the long cord of the camera’s cable release is an example of this. The upwards movement makes it appear as if a spirit is leaving her body or some kind of supernatural phenomena was captured.
Michala fell in love with analogue photography and black and white film at a young age. She adores the velvety tones of the black and white image. It’s obvious that both her own history and photo history are extremely relevant to her craft. Because Michala is using natural light in her photographs and because she does little to manipulate the light, her amount of control over the scene is through the camera and in the movement of the subject only.
This work, being shot entirely in black and white allows the viewer to focus on the light within the space and the way the light interacts with the subject. Movement is a relevant part of exploring light, by using slower shutter speeds to capture motion blur, the appearance of ghostly figures gives an aura of 18th century photography. Michala’s use of objects that interact directly with the light such as mirrors and sheer fabric along with the creation of shadows and reflections are methods in which she captures light as the subject in her images.