A conversation with Michael Serisin


Michael Serisin spoke a bit about his style of lighting. Single source lighting is something he says has become too cosmetic these days, he says the purpose, beauty and shapes within these dark shadows are being totally dismissed. For him, the best way to capture the essence of single source lighting is by using the three key light sources; sun, moon and fire.





He spoke about the importance of going to galleries and looking at oil paintings and seeing how artists like Caravagio captured light and dark within their paintings. He said to look at still lives in particular to see how the light and shadow will blanket over certain objects and textures.


I love how low angle lighting creates  beautiful long, dramatic shadows and found a few images that I felt capture this well:

shad        shadow-iphone-photos-15       shadow-iphone-photos-17shadow-iphone-photos-22

A key thing I have come to learn, since hearing cinematographers such as Michael Serisin talk, is that it is ok to make things dark. Throughout film school I have been told by people there is a set ISO for certain situations and my colleagues have often been quick in saying that something I have lit is too dark. However as Serisin spoke I recollected my tutor saying to me “don’t create unnecessary light sources, if it’s a dark night interior, make it so.” In the lecture with Michael Serisin, he spoke about how much he likes dark shadows in a scene. It suddenly made me realise it is all a choice and down to personal preferences (to an extent) and decided to visit a few exhibitions and research artists like Rembrandt and Caravagio who have influenced this darker style of light and shadow within their own paintings.


I actually found an amazing photographer, Mashashi Wakui, who captured some incredibly cinematic night shots of eery Tokyo which I feel capture an eery beauty within darkness:




Here is my own example of single source photography. I took this during Leeds light night in the market.



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