Brian Sherman has become a well-respected freelance night
photographer, producing spectacular night photographs of the
Mojave Desert. His work has been shown many times both
on the internet and numerous gallery, museum and art shows
in Southern California with many awards and acolations.
Brian Sherman is a self-taught photographer through the
school of disappointment and experimentation. “I have
approached photography with a clear and open mind, naive to
the schools of thought on composition and the technical
aspects of photography. In doing so I have created a
style that I feel is unique and unpolluted.” His
philosophy on photography has evolved over the years with
the desire to strip down the subject and its environment to
create these stunning images.
Having always been fascinated with what is beyond our
atmosphere and a huge science fiction fan has had an obvious
influence on Brian’s photography. As a child, he can
remember being mesmerized by the outlandish sets that Gene
Roddenberry created every week for the original Star Trek
series. The Mojave Desert that he grew up in is a
bizarre landscape, harsh and desolate, in many ways similar
to the imaginary planets visited in all those science fiction
movies. Brian spent many years exploring this unique
place before becoming serious about photography. He
only began to think about photographing His desert
explorations when the owner of the local one-hour photo lab
suggested that he try to take photographs of these places
instead of just the usual snapshots. “His comment
intrigued me at first until I had realized what he meant.
I bought my first SLR camera and learned from there.”
Years after that conversation, Brian has developed a
philosophy and style through practice and a clear idea of
how he wants the world to see these places. ShadowOfLightProject is the result of this learning voyage that
ended up with an ongoing series of night photographs.
Shadow Of Light is a reference to Plato’s
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The Allegory of the
Cave where what we see in life is but a mere shadow
of true reality illuminated on the walls of the cave.
This night photography is not merely recording the Mojave
Desert, but it’s intent is to make an artistic
representation of this place. Brian has used this
concept to create an artistic illusion of reality for the
enjoyment of the viewer. In this project, the darkness
of night is used to select what the viewer will ultimately
see in the photograph when it is finished. Through
long exposure times the reality of a subject is bent in such
a way that what one is seeing is a carefully composed
subject emerging from the darkness of night. In the
end the emotion of emptiness is what these photographs are
meant to convey.
The technical aspect of ShadowOfLightProject is
a mix of traditional film cameras and digital printing.
Brian is reluctant of technology in general believing that
our society is crippling itself by relying too much on the
instant gratification and convenience of technology.
ShadowOfLightProject is careful to only employ
technology as a tool and not as an artistic crutch.
All ShadowOfLightProject’s photographs are a
result of what was done in camera, not in Photoshop.
Brian uses Adobe Elements for simple cropping, contrast
adjustments, and converting some images from color to black
& white. All these techniques are possible in a
traditional darkroom. Nothing is added to these images
that was not already on the slide or negative. Prints
are made outside by professional print labs using drum
scanners for the highest possible resolution allowing for
large prints on archival papers. The majority of these
photographs were taken with medium format Rolleicord cameras
with the exception of ElectricChurch which was
taken with an Argus C3 on 35mm film.
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