During my vast and undisciplined study of the old masters, I discovered Caravaggio. He’s commonly placed in the Baroque school, of which he is considered the first great representative. In the world of fine art photography, he’s well regarded for his particularly intense and beautiful mastery of the chiaroscuro style. This style was based on using extreme contrasts of light and dark to emphasize details of gesture or facial expression. You may not know it, but you’ve seen the influence of his work. Caravaggio’s work shaped that of many later artists, ranging from Rembrandt in Holland and Diego Velázquez in Spain to Théodore Géricault in France. His dramatic sense of staging and innovative treatment of light and shade have also directly inspired many leading figures in the medium of cinema, including Pier Paolo Pasolini and good old Martin Scorsese.
I connected more with his rebellious and dangerous character than his work. Nevertheless, there was something to his deep dark style that stuck with me. So rather than looking at the darkness as this ominous entity, I chose to appreciate it as something that can be beautiful. I already developed a taste for chiaroscuro, as shown in my recent exploration of the Baroque style with Elle, but Caravaggio’s was on another level.
For this study, I got to work with Daiane, an energetic Brazilian traveling model out of Texas. She was a great pick for this session as she had the experience and the strong but still feminine physique you can often see in the Baroque paintings. There is a strong presence of the color red in Caravaggio’s work which aligned very well with my ongoing Red Series. I wanted to use her feminine form as the light that breaks the darkness. giving the resulting photograph an intimate sense of mystery. Like sharing the sentiment that we also have been there before – being the light in the dark corners of our lives.