Shooting into the sun breaks one of the most
fundamental “rules” of photography, but I love the
ethereal, evocative effect of backlighting my subject.
Each month, the team at Lowepro challenge their Storytellers to a mission, assigning a word or phrase and asking that we show them our visual interpretations. Because the Storytellers are spread all across the globe, each with their own unique personal style, it is always exciting to see how everyone translates this prompt into pictures.
This month’s Storyteller Mission was to find light that illuminates our subject from behind using a compositional technique known as backlighting. Shooting into the sun, and using backlight as a visual effect, is something that I have been experimenting with for much of my career. It breaks one of the most fundamental “rules” of photography — to always have the sun behind/beside the photographer — but I love the softness created by backlighting my subject and allowing the sun’s flare to creep into my lens. It’s this ethereal, evocative effect that moves me to keep practicing this photographic technique in my editorial, commercial and personal work — like this photograph of a DPRK soldier at the Samjiyon Grand Monument, a 15m (50ft) effigy of a 27-year-old Kim Il-sung, erected near Mount Paektu in Ryanggang Province near the border between North Korea and China.
Click here to see all the Lowepro Storytellers’ “Backlight” submissions.
And click here to browse more of my photography from inside the Hermit Kingdom.
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