Sometimes artistic pursuits are for the Artist as much as the viewer. Denis Smith is on a journey of self-discovery that has led him to some exciting locations across the state. Artistic pursuits are a way of finding one’s self, particularly in this modern world where one can easily become lost. I met Denis Smith at Bowerbird and was fascinated by his photography. After speaking with him I got the sense that there was a unique story attached to his work, that there was more to it. I was directed to the video on his website and I must say it was both honest and eye-opening. I hope people take the time to view it for themselves; I have provided link at the end of this post.
Ball of light is a concept that is; as far as I am aware, unique to Denis. It is not created with the use of Photoshop or any post production means. What is astounding to note is that the “ball of light” shots were all taken at night. These photographs are built by a time-honoured technique where the “Bulb” setting on the camera is used to keep the shutter open for long periods of time. Light is then spun in front of the camera at the appropriate time in the shot to produce the “Ball”. Denis has travelled all over the beautiful State of South Australia capturing the changing landscape in remote and local settings.
These photos were taken at remarkable rocks on Kangaroo Island. They are strange shapes of weathered granite that sit on a hill overlooking a vast national park. Constructed over thousands of years they are immense and in many ways seem as though they are a portal themselves. They are a fitting place for a ball of light, with its otherworldly nature, to come into being. If you look closely at the sky in each of the shots you can gauge the amount of time that Denis Smith would have had to sit. The stars have carved small trails across the heavens, the earth having moved a considerable distance on its axis. I enjoy these shots for the colour, the contrast of bright yellow and gold to the ochre stone, green foliage and blue sky and sea. I feel as though a strange visitor has encroached on the landscape and the photograph is witness to it.
Grange jetty is an icon in South Australia. An old weathered jetty it has a character all of its own. This shot taken from below reflects the light of the ball on the underside of the wooden slats above while the calm sea lies in the background. The whole photo transmits a plasma like light that pervades the scene.
For Denis the Ball of light is a portal to another place. For him there is no doubt that it was a lifesaving and life changing experience. Please have a look at his site.