bright light, big city

By strazz

July 28, 2009

Category: Daily work


I am a hypocrite.

For years and years now I have preached about available light. How available light was the truest way to document a scene. How that I hadn’t used a strobe in 8 years because I liked the challenge of finding light where hardly any existed.

Well, now I feel like a big fat fraud.

I have started a new story and I have decided to shoot it with a flash. Not strobed with some delicate fill or artfully bounced off a side wall but straight on full force direct flash.

And you know what? I am loving it!

Just like I have started to embrace straight on portraiture, I now enjoy lighting the bejeezus out of a scene. Like this one here at a south side event this evening that my photo subject took part in.

My rationalization is that I am using the strobe as a creative tool and not as a crutch. I am using it not because I am lazy but because I like the effect.

However, the problem with this approach is that there is a very thin line between success and failure.

I think that I am being oh so arty and cutting edge but it is possible that the photos that I am producing for this yet to be published story might do nothing more than suck.

Time will tell.

© 2009 Chicago Tribune/Scott Strazzante


4 Responses to “bright light, big city”

  1. I would say you are not a hypocrite. Available light is all well and good but sometimes a strobe just looks cool.

    Obviously there are stories and situations where it would be inappropriate to use a strobe and other times were it is almost criminal NOT to. By using a strobe you are not lying anymore than you would be by choosing to use a telephoto lens or a super-wide.

    Not to mention we print on toilet paper – sometimes you need that pop.

  2. Next thing you´ll be probably getting into is the ring flash and then you’re deep in the trendy arty king of shit everyone seems to be doing these days…

  3. Can’t wait to see more of your direct flash for your yet-to-be-published story….. It’s not hypocracy at all…. it’s a change in style …. something that every photographer should try every now and then.

    Sure do enjoy your pictures…Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I’ve always shot with available light whenever possible. I too feel it renders most scenes in the most natural way. Almost like using strobe was “cheating.” I’ve started using strobes a little more often just to broaden my skills, but it seems that it can be quite the investment to have the proper equipment to do it right.

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