I am deeply drawn to the strong contrast between light and dark. This style is defined by a term called chiaroscuro. Webster defines Chiaroscuro as the “interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character)”. This definition best exemplifies me as a person, though the term is generally not associated with psychology it is a perfect description of my personality. Wikipedia says it is an Italian word for light-dark and in art is characterized by strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. To me this is the edge where beauty dwells. It is the edge I am most drawn to, feel safe, and most at home. It seems that everyone I meet is in conflict with something in their lives. Either a psycho/social disorder they can name and treat or a secret they keep buried deep within. My process of photography is to discover that edge, to explore their insecurity and bring it to light in images that give them a different perspective. We live in a modern world where we are told the norm is physical perfection: sculpted, toned, and enhanced with product. None of us are truly this way; the reality is that we are just average people making an average go of our lives. We become so clouded in our perceptions of what we think we want to be that we refuse to see what is truly remarkable within ourselves. I face and resist these issues myself and know they have changed as I have changed, my current insecurities facing my own process of aging. This is what my photography actually becomes about. It’s the search for identity within my process. I have always been drawn to this contrast within myself and now I externally manifest it through the images I create. I see myself emerging from light into darkness. I find comfort in shadows and therefore paint with light what I feel within. Desire is a strong motivation. I was romantic at heart, sensual, and passionate on such a physical level in my youth. But as I age these qualities fade, an erosion of time. It is through my images I bring them back to existence, revisit my youth, and seek beauty. It is the experience of my life and pleasure that I bring to others, who are lost in their own insecurities, and illuminate something extraordinary about them. I use classical art as my inspiration. The painter I feel the greatest kinship to is Caravaggio. He was an Italian Baroque painter from 1593 to 1610, died at the age of 39. Many say he is the greatest influence on modern painting because he painted in a realistic style, for that era, that became an observation of human existence on both a physical and emotional level with his dramatic use of lighting. It was revolutionary at the time though not overly popular. In fact he ended up painting over many of his images due to rejection. He is considered a master of this use of the chiaroscuro style. There is a passion that lurks in the shadows and darkness of his images that captures life. I saw this in my own images long before I knew of his work. It is where the darkness meets the light and the beauty of unconventional things are allowed to emerge.

3 thoughts on “Chiaroscuro

  1. kim

    >you inspire me Terry….i am so drawn to contrast in my own life and photography but haven't even begun to really explore it..

  2. Terry J Cyr Photography

    >Thanks Kim I am moved that you are drawn to what I am doing with this project. Keep at it and you will find what ignites your passion to pursue it.

  3. Dave C

    >I am struck by the similarity int the art of imagery and your edging darkness and beauty as I hover on the brink of the same with writing – the weaving of sensual imagery and the darkness of the psyche with images inductively created with words. I go to those places in obscure ways leaving interpretation to the reader yet not really letting myself admit explicitly the depth of my desire or fear or inner angsts relative to my identity. Perhaps I am reluctant to name things, to describe things because in some way I do not want to fully admit tto myself who I think I am. Or who I know I am. Working with you has begun to crack open the nut of my inner identity or Jekyl and Hydeness. I want to continue the uncovering and naming Terry.

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