The evocation of place - conjuring up the genius loci - has been a lifelong passion of mine in my photography. Trying to convey the essence of a place in a moment in time on a two dimensional medium by drawing it with light.
Thinking this through and trying not to over analyse things there emerged three main factors that I seemed to be using to evoke the spirit of place.
The first was illumination - no surprise there - and the use of ethereal light to create dark, shade and highlights plus a rich gradation of tones in-between - giving a 3D look to a 2-D image.
The second was everything in focus from front to back, allowing our attention to flow uninterrupted though the resulting picture, further emphasising the three dimensional feel and reflecting how we perceive scenes like this i.e. how we interpret what we see and (maybe surprisingly) not showing how things actually were as defined by the raw data received by our eyes.
Yes indeed what we perceive to have seen and what we actually saw are two very different things, but that is another whole subject in its own right for another time.
The third was absent presence - say what? Photographs devoid of people but creating a feeling that someone had, just a moment ago, stepped out of the place but was due back at any minute. In a very real sense the spirit of the place defines not just the place itself but also the people who were there just a moment ago.
The photograph above hopefully illustrates just this.
So there you have it, evoking a place through illumination, depth of focus and absent presence, conjuring up the genius loci.