Friday, October 16, 2009

The Allure of Light

Photograph by Richard Winn

Last weekend in the Sunday edition of The New York Times, I stumbled across this photo in their travel section. It stopped me cold. What a photograph! Enticing and captivating, yet humble and demure. The woman, with her back to us cooking at a wooden, block table in a rustic kitchen, is bathed in light from the nearby window. But not any light. Vermeer light -- A subtle play of luminosity and colour that embraces its subject and augments an image's poetry.

Vermeer's scenes of domestic life use light that is ethereal, magical and inviting. He elevates daily life to a higher plane; the realm of Gods, perhaps? Or is it that he illuminates a terrestrial paradise. Yet, for all this, Vermeer never strays from the glory of the present moment.

Wordsworth wrote: "With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and by the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things."