Alexandra Berry Calderon



Digital Photo, 2017

Flash represents the use of scientific technology in our world today. There are many new ideas constantly popping up all around us, but what about the older ones? In the late 1800’s, early photographers would use magnesium to produce photographic lighting. Magnesium was a popular choice because it was easy to use and allowed photographers to have some control over artificial lighting. They would either burn it as a wire or a wick, sometimes with a reflector. My photograph represents the use of magnesium as a source of light, reminding the viewer of this earlier light technology, and challenge them to reconsider this as an option to electricity.

My goal was to produce Rembrandt lighting. To create this effect, I focused on value and shutter speed. The faster the speed, the more contrast I was able to build within the photo. I’m pleased that I was able to capture the moment of the magnesium combusting and creating gas. The tin pie plate acts as a reflector much like the tools of an 19th century photographer. I would like to encourage other photographers to try more traditional ways of producing light and explore early photographic methods.