In the most basic terms, we can think of “light” in two ways — reflective light and radiant light. There are several layers to this perspective, which have deep implications for the creative process as well as the energetic aspects of photography (or all art, for that matter). Let’s begin …
Reflective vs. Radiant Light
Reflective light is simply the light that reflects off of a subject. I just don’t mean light hitting a shiny piece of metal. When we see the color of most objects, in a normal physical sense, we are actually seeing wavelengths of light bounced back to our eyes from the pigments or structural qualities of what we are looking at.
Radiant light, on the other hand, is light that is emitted by a subject. For instance, a fire emits light through combustion of wood, etc. (it is also emitting infrared wavelengths of “light”, which we feel as heat). Our physical world is illuminated by the radiant light of the sun reflecting off all of the “stuff” of the world — trees, buildings, water, etc.
However, when we move this understanding of “light” beyond the basic physics of optics and physical vision, a vastly expanded world of perception and perspective is opened.
Light from a vast Universe
Light can approached and understood in the ways of classical physics and the properties of wavelengths in the visible electromagnetic spectrum. However, this is a view of light that is based upon a particular understanding of the Universe and the nature of energy/light. A much more vast and expansive view exists. For more detail , I suggest reading of my articles on the multi-dimensional Universe, sacred geometries of energy, or healing sacred geometry for soul awakening.
We are going to jump off from these starting points, with an understanding that we live in a Universe that is fundamentally made of energy and that energy (or light) exists in different frequencies. Some of these frequencies are visible to the human physical eye, and others are accessible through different types of vision — often called the “third eye” or seeing into other dimensions. For instance, these other frequencies are visible in what people commonly refer to as “auras” around a person or object. Most, if not all, people have this capability to see, but some are more gifted or practiced at it than others — just like some people are better musicians or “hear” frequencies more precisely (e.g. perfect pitch in music).
When we see some “thing,” either in a photograph, or on-the-spot perception, we are actually perceiving both the physical, reflected light of the object (shapes and colors) and the radiant light of the “being” or “soul” of what we are looking at. As I said, some people visually perceive this higher frequency energy as an aura — the light of the being itself shining into the world. However, these energies can be vastly more complex than simple bands of colors in an aura, depending upon what is viewed and the ability of the viewer to perceive these energies.
Seeing first & then Perceiving more …
Now here is where language gets a bit tricky. We talk about “seeing” something, but really, there is much more than the patterns that are organized by our retinas and brains. I use the term “perceive” to include the vastly greater amount of information available to the “perceiver,” in terms of BOTH radiant and reflective light. He or she may “visualize” that energy, but might also sense it in other ways (feel, hear, even smell).
So we can say that we “see” the physical subject — colors, shapes, patterns, etc. These are usually dominated by physical reflected light, though sometimes there is radiant light that is physical seen, such as from a light bulb or fire.
We also can say that we “perceive” the radiant light of the physical subject . This refers to the perception (visual or otherwise) of the energies that are beyond the conventional physical spectrum of visible light. This radiant light comes from the essence of the subject itself — call it life force, soul, Source, animus, or any number of names.
It’s really quite simple, but brings forth a radical shift in how we perceive our world and who/what we are creating through our images. We are now in a dynamic world of energy and consciousness rather than just “touchable stuff.” Energy can be perceived in the form of “visible light” (red, orange, yellow, etc.), but energy also can be perceived in vast complexity beyond this basic level of “vision.”
It is all energy, and in that sense, can also be said to be all light. The energy (or light) is at different frequencies and can be perceived in different ways.
The classical techniques of photography access the reflected light (conventionally visible energy frequencies) of a subject. But physical photography ends here.
Energetic or spiritually-based photography is a conscious engagement with the “other light” — the radiant energy (light) of soul or Source being expressed through a being. Engaging and capturing THIS light is an entirely different creative process. In this form of photography, we engage the light and Light from our physical being as well as from our expanded awareness and Soul.