Following a link on Twitter recently, I came across the work of Kevin Cooley.
Cooley, is a US landscape photographer and video artist especially known for his night photography.
His website shows the full range of his work, however it was the images from his Light’s Edge and Nachtfluge series’ that particularly caught my interest. In these collection Cooley has used man-made light sources to create strong effects.
This series of photographs were taken outdoors at night or during nightfall, mostly in remote snowy areas. In several of the photographs Cooley has used long exposures to capture the journey of light flares, resulting in quite beautiful, serene images.
The image below shows a lone figure standing in a large area of open countryside. The emptiness, snow and darkness give the photograph a sense of quiet and isolation. The eye is immediately drawn to the brightness of the light flare and along the route it travels. The curving pathway adds movement and energy and seems to be in direction opposition to the stillness elsewhere in the image.
This image below shows snow-covered hills under a dark night sky. No moon or stars are visible; the only light in the image is from the curving track of the light flare. The flare disappears just behind the top the hill, illuminating the area. The composition in this image is visually (although I’m sure, not technically) simple. However, I do find it quite powerful. It seems quite fantastical and serene, sparking thoughts that this could be a far-off planet or a moonscape.
In this project Cooley made long exposure photographs of airplanes taking-off or landing. The effect was the creation of light trails across the sky. Cooley took many of these shots with regular inhabited homes in the foreground and I think that by adding the light trails he has made an everyday scene, beautiful. He has made the ordinary, appear extraordinary.
Kevin Cooley’s work can be viewed on http://www.kevincooley.net/