dissolving edges


Clarice BECKETT 1887–1935: Collins Street, evening . 1931

I came across the phrase, ‘dissolving edges’ while reading the book ‘My Beautiful Friend‘, describing a way of seeing in a non literal way. You know that there are hard edges there but I prefer the subtle complexity of seeing light wrap, seep and dissolve. Just squint and you can feel it.  There is something to reflect on if you believe (as I do) that the most successful examples of art capturing that feeling of light is through words (try James Salter – immerse yourself in one of his masterful books,  Light Years or Burning the Days – a wonderful title that evokes so much, and I have borrowed myself) or paintings (The glorious tonal studies by Clarice Beckett are amongst my favourites). While one of the least effective, and most challenging medium, in my opinion, is the photograph – a photo doesn’t lie but but the most literal interpretation of what you see can also be the most soulless. I want to capture the feeling of light that glows, ebbs, and renders hard edges soft.

I spent a few days in Melbourne recently (Clarice Beckett’s home town) and was able to wander the streets at the moments when the light was low and soft, golden and reflecting off the buildings and windows. I was able to burn a few hours chasing reflections and shadows in the early morning and evening light. I turned at times to the old shop windows where images reflected and refracted through the old warped glass adding subtle distortions. While I didn’t really get any decent shots, it is a meadative process spending time on the street, in no particular hurry to get anywhere.

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Melbourne Reflections 3


Melbourne Glow

Melbourne Shadows 1

Melbourne Reflections 2

Melbourne Reflections 1


  1. I was not familiar with Clarice Beckett but she is now one of my favorites. Her work invokes in me similar feelings to that of Edward Hopper, the melancholy of light I like to call it. The ideas about tonalism have made me look at light differently, made me feel light differently though I still do like the interplay of soft light on hard detail. This does make me think of some of the photos of Kou Inose, his light has a very soulful quality to it and the soft focus I think is part of that. Do please continue the blog, rattle on as much as you want, I for one, will be reading. Thanks for the new ideas.



    1. Thanks Mark, yes I am also inspired by Hopper, magnificent paintings, I have a number of books about his paintings as well as the underlying themes and emotions that he depicts. Glad that you are enjoying the blog, I will keep going as long as someone is reading..



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