The Play of Light

My relationship with photography has been a long and bitter tale, a sad love affair of sorts sprinkled with a few brief highs, followed by an equal number of wide and gaping gulches. Or to drop the histrionics: Black and white photography has been a sporadic hobby of mine since I was a teenager. I developed my own film, enlarged my own prints, breathed in my own toxic chemicals in my own bathroom/darkroom, proudly perused all those resulting prints, and then inevitably got so disgusted with the whole business (including most of those resulting prints) that I just gave up.

That is, I’d give up until enough time had gone by for me to muster up the energy to reenact this sad up-down-and-out cycle once again. But then something odd happened in 2010. Finally, somehow, I got over my proud insistence in keeping faith with the traditional analogue approach to photography and joined the digital masses. I gave up my artistic, black-and-white integrity, and discovered, at last, the wonders of living color. Yes, selling out for me has been a wonderful thing. I’m more excited about photography than I’ve ever been - and more satisfied with my photos. Go figure.

And just to add a word about my domestic life: I now live in Fitchburg, Wisconsin with Kathryn, my wife and main photographic advisor. (She’s the one in the photograph with me: I don’t have the courage to appear on this page alone.)

As to why I photograph, I’d say it’s to capture (forgive the overused word) beauty in a wide variety of forms and places - including forms and places one might not expect to find beauty. In fact, those unexpected photos are usually the ones that satisfy me most, probably because they most seem like discoveries. But “discovery” is a tricky word. If you were to compare my final, processed images with their original versions, you might argue that sometimes my photos are more inventions than discoveries. However, even with these most processed or stylized photos, I prefer to think I am just revealing what’s already there - just polishing a bit to see beneath the surface.

And in case you're curious, I call this site “The Play of Light” for a few reasons. First off, it reminds me of what photography, in a very fundamental way, is all about: the capture of light and how light plays off various objects so differently at different times. And the “play” in the title suggests to me not only the behavior of light, but also the behavior of those who try to capture light. For me at least, photography is a type of adult play, where I’m allowed to (or, more accurately, where I allow myself to) run around with a box that snatches up light, not unlike the way a child runs around with a net that snatches up butterflies. And then when I later examine what I’ve captured, I can do something even the child with his butterflies can’t do: I can further play around with these finds via the magic of computer software.

But, frankly, the main reason I call this site “The Play of Light” is that I earlier created a web site on philosophy and the history of ideas called “The Play of Mind.” I just could not resist this verbal link. (For those who are curious, here is a nonverbal link to my other site.)

I hope you enjoy my photos.

Warren Weinstein

P.S.: As a way of thanking those who buy my prints, framing and finishing options are priced at cost.