In this revealing study, Daisuke Miyao explores "the aesthetics of shadow" in Japanese cinema in the first half of the twentieth century. This term, coined by the production designer Yoshino Nobutaka, refers to the perception that shadows add depth and mystery. Miyao analyzes how this notion became naturalized as the representation of beauty in Japanese films, situating Japanese cinema within transnational film history. He examines the significant roles lighting played in distinguishing the styles of Japanese film from American and European film and the ways that lighting facilitated the formulation of a coherent new Japanese cultural tradition. Miyao discusses the influences of Hollywood and German cinema alongside Japanese Kabuki theater lighting traditions and the emergence of neon commercial lighting during this period. He argues that lighting technology in cinema had been structured by the conflicts of modernity in Japan, including capitalist transitions in the film industry, the articulation of Japanese cultural and national identity, and increased subjectivity for individuals. By focusing on the understudied element of film lighting and treating cinematographers and lighting designers as essential collaborators in moviemaking, Miyao offers a rereading of Japanese film history.
Cinema is a medium of light. And during Weimar Germany's advance to technological modernity, light - particularly the representational possibilities of electrical light - became the link between the cinema screen and the rapid changes that were transforming German life.In Frances Guerin's compelling history of German silent cinema of the 1920s, the innovative use of light is the pivot around which a new conception of a national cinema, and a national culture emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with light - electric billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and shows how this element of the mise-en-scene came to reflect both the opportunities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations center on use of light in films such as Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), Metropolis (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In these films we see how light is the substance of image composition, the structuring device of the narrative, and the central thematic concern. This history relieves German films of the responsibility to explain the political and ideological instability of the period, an instability said to be the uncertain foundation of Nazism. In unlocking this dubious link, A Culture of Light redefines the field of German film scholarship.
The City of Light. For many, these four words instantly conjure late nineteenth-century Paris and the garish colors of Toulouse-Lautrec’s iconic posters. More recently, the Eiffel Tower’s nightly show of sparkling electric lights has come to exemplify our fantasies of Parisian nightlife. Though we reflect longingly on such scenes, in Illuminated Paris, Hollis Clayson shows that there’s more to these clichés than meets the eye. In this richly illustrated book, she traces the dramatic evolution of lighting in Paris and how artists responded to the shifting visual and cultural scenes that resulted from these technologies. While older gas lighting produced a haze of orange, new electric lighting was hardly an improvement: the glare of experimental arc lights—themselves dangerous—left figures looking pale and ghoulish. As Clayson shows, artists’ representations of these new colors and shapes reveal turn-of-the-century concerns about modernization as electric lighting came to represent the harsh glare of rapidly accelerating social change. At the same time, in part thanks to American artists visiting the city, these works of art also produced our enduring romantic view of Parisian glamour and its Belle Époque.
Light Image Imagination
Edited by Martha Blassnigg Amsterdam University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HD7164.5.T72 2012
The essays in this collection consider the creation, perception, and projection of images, both mental and material, and their specific relationship with light and imagination. With contributions from scholars working at the interdisciplinary intersections of art, science, and the humanities, Light Image Imagination extends disciplinary boundaries in order to amplify and enrich the current thinking about mediated images. The unique layout of the book, which juxtaposes text and image essays, is intended to stimulate dialogue and associative connections.
Lighting the Shadow
Rachel Eliza Griffiths Four Way Books, 2015 Library of Congress PS3607.R5494A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Lighting the Shadow is about a woman’s evolving journey through desire, grief, trauma, and the peculiar historical American psyche of desire and violence. These poems explore the international and psychological wars women survive—wars inflicted through various mediums that employ art, race, and literature. Furthermore, the collection is about a woman’s transformation and acceptance of her complicated attempts to balance her spirit’s own spectrum. Pulling the poet away from death, these poems insist that she open her life to her own powers and the powers of a greater world—a world that is both bright and dark.
In Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567–1642,R. B. Graves examines the lighting of early modern English drama from both historical and aesthetic perspectives. He traces the contrasting traditions of sunlit amphitheaters and candlelit hall playhouses, describes the different lighting techniques, and estimates the effect of these techniques both indoors and outdoors.
Graves discusses the importance of stage lighting in determining the dramatic effect, even in cases where the manipulation of light was not under the direct control of the theater artists. He devotes a chapter to the early modern lighting equipment available to English Renaissance actors and surveys theatrical lighting before the construction of permanent playhouses in London. Elizabethan stage lighting, he argues, drew on both classical and medieval precedents.
Developed just after the close of the Civil War, the Springfield Gas Machine was a unique commercial and domestic gas lighting system marketed for use in homes and businesses outside of a city’s gas works. The self-contained unit was perfectly suited to accommodate an expanding rural and suburban U.S. landscape as middle- and upper-class American families were looking to find simplicity in the countryside without losing any modern comforts of the city. Industries, too, were looking for a means to operate more efficiently and implement longer work hours for various production operations. Perhaps more important, owners of the Springfield system could retain control of their light production during a time when corporations were reaping large benefits from their monopolistic hold over municipal gas works.
In addition to detailing preserved Springfield systems across the country, Donald W. Linebaugh uses newspapers and magazine articles, advertisements, patents, and even mail-order catalogs to tell the story of this one-of-a-kind unit. The Gilbert and Barker Manufacturing Company's innovative business plan established them as a leader in the manufacture of gas lighting devices. By taking gasoline from an oft-discarded byproduct of refining crude oil to a viable fuel source, the company paved the way for other gas-powered appliances to improve household management strategies and industrial production. In capturing the pre-automobile market for gasoline, Gilbert and Barker attracted the attention of the Standard Oil Trust, presaging the oil-industry dominance over gasoline production that continues today.
The story of the Springfield gas machine ends in the early twentieth century as the advent of electricity proved more available to the masses with considerably less expense. However, gas lighting was, for its time, a major innovation in domestic and commercial lighting, and it changed daily life and social behaviors in the late nineteenth century as the comforts of home became a reality for suburban and rural Americans.
During the nineteenth century, Britain became the first gaslit society, with electric lighting arriving in 1878. At the same time, the British government significantly expanded its power to observe and monitor its subjects. How did such enormous changes in the way people saw and were seen affect Victorian culture?
To answer that question, Chris Otter mounts an ambitious history of illumination and vision in Britain, drawing on extensive research into everything from the science of perception and lighting technologies to urban design and government administration. He explores how light facilitated such practices as safe transportation and private reading, as well as institutional efforts to collect knowledge. And he contends that, contrary to presumptions that illumination helped create a society controlled by intrusive surveillance, the new radiance often led to greater personal freedom and was integral to the development of modern liberal society.
The Victorian Eye’s innovative interdisciplinary approach—and generous illustrations—will captivate a range of readers interested in the history of modern Britain, visual culture, technology, and urbanization.