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The Light of Simile: Chasing Light, Shadows, and Alternative Meanings

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Post date:2023-09-28



The Light of Simile: Chasing Light, Shadows, and Alternative Meanings
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NO.70, SECTION 1, ZHONGXIAO W. ROAD, Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City Taiwan, R.O.C
The imaging of photography would not be possible without light; only light creates images and shadows (the Chinese word for both words is “影”). Light is the origin of shadows and images, which, in turn, bear witness to the light. However, without photographers able to capture this light through the camera obscura or cameras (today, there are a plethora of imaging devices; people can even take pictures with their phones!), imaging would not be possible, and the solidification of the rays of light is no accident, nor is it a mere chance. Indeed, 'light' may refer to the entire spectrum of daylight and artificial lighting perceivable to our sense of vision, and which allows people to detect the light of an object’s very existence. In Chinese, the word for 'light' can also refer to glory or honor, scenery, or time; it can also be used to describe brightness, smoothness, or even nakedness. The Chinese word for 'shadow' may also refer to images and how people are represented, or the darkness cast by blocked light; it may also describe imitation and copying, or the condition of being covered or hidden. Photographers deliberately present the traces of light and the textures of shadows in their images; whether or not the images match the interpretations of the viewers is the question this exhibition asks. 

Simile and Metaphor: Chasing Light, Shadows, and Alternative Meanings showcases works that early Taiwanese photographers have been creating using traditional photographic equipment and analog cameras since the 1950s, as well as double refraction images, time-lapse videos, and meticulously-created works using modern aluminum wet plate collodion techniques, rayograph, polarizers, digital cameras, and editing software. Through the composition of light and shadow, these works feature incidents and people with symbols hidden within. The works capture the light of different people and their humanity, cities and spaces, objects, as well as the extended meanings and many metaphors of lines and artificial lighting. The works also depict the shadows of people, culture, the mind, geometry, and a sense of eeriness, as well as subconscious-like, metaphoric shadows. Even in similar lighting arrangements, the atmospheres, photographic approaches, and composition differ between the artists, and every viewer will interpret the symbols and extended meanings within the photographs according to their own life experiences, intellectual foundations, and social and cultural upbringings. The subtle differences in the viewers’ focus and interpretation enrich the narrative and rhetoric of the photographic images.

The Light of Simile
Simile in rhetoric is what an author employs to animate persons, events and objects by deliberately referring them to different ones and comparing the similarities of the two entities, so speech and writings become vivid and easy to understand. A photographer captures a variety of light or halos in the composition of their works, showing the light of characters and humanity, the light of cities and spaces, the light of objects, and the light from lines and artificial sources. Their captures present the scenes of cognitive consciousness and draw symbols of vivid images, and the derived connotations thus form metaphorical lights.

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