The shadows

hello friend

It’s Friday. Did you have a good week? I’ve been trying out a mood tracking app called Moodpath to ask me questions randomly throughout the day and track my mood. Most times I say I feel blank. Not empty. Just blank. Devoid of emotion. Today though it’s sunny and I’m off to an exhibition launch later. I should be anxious about a room filled with people and I’m sure that’ll happen later but for now I’m fine. It’s sunny. I’m painting my nails purple. I’m fine. How about you?



At the end of last year my wife and I went to see the Leonardo exhibition in London. It closes on 26 January. I highly recommend it.


I’ve slowly been learning more about Leonardo da Vinci over the years. I knew of his famous work, the inventions, but I didn’t really know much else. Thanks to some great exhibitions I’ve learned a lot. I respect him for being someone trying to balance art and science. He embraced both in ways I just can’t understand. I’ve often failed to really balance my head and draw strength from both sides of my personality. The balance always seems to tip over to science because of my need to do things the “right” way. Leonardo either didn’t have this issue or overcame it.

There were some great quotes in this exhibition that really hit home for me.

“He saw no separation between science and art.” – Leah Kharibian

“He who avoids shadow avoids what is the glory of art.” – Leonardo da Vinci


The whole exhibition takes you through the science and artistry he employed. It looks at the way he used layering techniques to create actual shadows in his painting. There’s a clever installation that allows you to play with the Chiaroscuro effect. This is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark. Unknowingly I set the machine to what I liked and when I looked closer I saw I’d set it to what Leonardo used. Great minds eh.



Quick camera update after last week. Turns out my Leica M240 might be broke. If I nail the focus through the viewfinder at wide aperture then the subject is out of focus. If I shift the focus a little then the subject is in focus. So I’m not totally rubbish with this camera.

These photos weren’t taken on the M240. I’m simply not that good with it. They were taken on the Leica Q which is an amazing camera for low light work like this. I was very much inspired by Leonardo’s quote about the light at dusk.

“Imagine the streets as light fades towards dusk in gloomy weather, what grace and sweetness you see in the faces of men and women.” – Leonardo da Vinci



The Europeans: capturing modern Europe as it faces an era of change – British Journal of Photography

Screen time: a photography special | Financial Times – Huge collection. Well worth a look.

Five days with Tom Wood (Emmanuel Bonn’s film on the photographer Tom WOOD – YouTube) – The street photographer who documented life in Merseyside in the 70s/80s and 90s.

Weekly email features Captains Log, fascinating links and more photos