Silhouettes in the News

Gregory Bull—AP
Gregory Bull—AP
June 6, 2012. A man paraglides behind the lines of another paraglider off the Torrey Pines Gliderport in San Diego.

Prior to the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the silhouette was considered an effective and inexpensive way to record a person’s likeness or capture a scene. Although the practice can be traced back to the early 17th century, the term ‘silhouette’ derives from the harsh policies of the French finance minister Étienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette reduces an object to its most basic form. Its historical uses in art can be seen in the paper cuts of Hans Christian Andersen and the artwork of Kara Walker. In photographic terms, the silhouette is created in situations where the subject is backlit. It can be used to hide a person’s identity or play up their distinctive features, and its graphic form is often used artistically to photograph sport and dance. It heightens drama, adds atmosphere and makes a banal scene into a graphic wonder.

More than 200 years ago, the silhouette was the foremost way to document one’s appearance, but it’s still widely used in photographic frames today. From capturing the world’s protests and politicians to wildfires and war zones, LightBox looks at the use of silhouettes on the wires this month.

See the first Silhouettes in the News feature on LightBox here.

Related Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

The Last of Usª Remastered_20140814132923

A War Photographer Embeds Himself Inside a Video Game

The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic video game with a twist: it offers a Photo Mode. TIME LightBox assigned conflict photographer Ashley Gilbertson to enter the game and document its protagonists as they fight to survive in a zombie-infested world.

Read More
Syria refugees young brides

Photojournalism Links Daily Digest: Sept. 15, 2014

Matthew Porter—M + B Gallery

Inside the Unseen Photo Fair, Where Photography is ‘Under Construction’

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,270 other followers