Gathering Darkness: Nightfall Views of Rochester and Beyond (photography by Ira Srole)

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Gathering Darkness: Nightfall Views of Rochester and Beyond (photography by Ira Srole)

On Display From: Saturday, October 28 to Monday, November 27

Gathering Darkness:
Nightfall Views of Rochester and Beyond
Oct. 28-Nov. 27
Artist Reception: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5

As any practicing photographer will attest, light is truly the essence of photography. Without it, the medium is mute. Light creates a latent image on film, waiting only to be revealed by the action of chemical agents to make an image visible and permanent. Likewise, light makes an impression on millions of picture elements, or pixels, which create an image by forming a mosaic of electronic ones and zeros on a sensor. Imaging technologies of the future will harness the power of light in ways we can only imagine.

During most days, light is plentiful. It varies in color and intensity during the course of the day, but for the most part, it is reliably there. Its quality will vary, however. We are taught to value the 'golden hour' just before sunset and, if we are lucky, just after sunrise. It seems, sometimes, that whatever we shoot during these special times will be beautiful and wonderful. That, of course, is an illusion.

As the sun sets and darkness gathers, our experience as people and as photographers begins to change. The power of the sun, our life force, is diminished; what we once thought we saw clearly becomes shrouded in shadow. The shadows become objects. Light itself becomes more and more scarce and, as such, more precious. A few moments ago we took it for granted. As it slips away, we are drawn to the light as a moth is to flame.

This project started quietly enough one evening when I walked through my Rochester  neighborhood with camera in hand, seeking scenes that were illuminated enough to see and to photograph. During the course of the past two years, I have followed and refined this pattern, sometimes with a specific idea in mind, sometimes not. There were a few moments when, in a particular location, my sense of place became ruffled and I left. For the greatest part, however, my experience in Rochester's neighborhoods has been just that---neighborly.

So welcome to my world of evening and night photography. It requires no special equipment, visual or otherwise. Just an appreciation of the patterns of light and darkness that dapple our world. As we enter this season of shorter days and longer nights, I welcome the opportunity to travel the city's streets once more, in search of places that reflect highlight, shadow and every shade in between.

Ira Srole, October, 2017