The sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial, Daniel Chester French, was not happy. His bust of the 16th president looked startled, afraid, wholly different from what was intended. The effect was caused by the lighting. When lit from above, the brows lowered, the expression hardened, the figure looked resolute. French decreed that the bust should never again be lit from beneath.
The contrasting photographs, and the story of how light creates mood, are iconic. I took a lamp up to my daughter’s room to experiment with how just the play of light on her rocking horse can change the entire character of a picture.
Moving right or left, top or bottom, front or back, changes the visible detail, the 3-D relief of the object, the drama of the scene.
Which is the best representation, the most compelling photograph?