Fort Pond Bay, Montauk, NY - Sunset 8:10pm
Without insight on the subject, each image appears to simply be an abstract gradience of color; however, these visuals are, in fact, photographs of skies at sunrise or sunset. New York-based photographer Eric Cahan captures long, vertical shots of beautifully multihued horizons in his ongoing work entitled Sky Series. This project, at its core, is an exploration of light, space, and memory. By capturing a wide array of colors in different skylines, Cahan is reflecting on the power of light in different settings.
It's especially fascinating to see the photographer's precise documentation of location and time for each image because it adds a layer of observation and recording that allows the viewer to visualize the moment, as if they've experienced it first-hand. If a shot is listed as a sunrise, I find myself feeling energetic, ready for a bright day to begin, whereas a sunset image makes me feel like taking a break and winding down along with the sun.
When we asked Cahan how much post processing went into creating these shots, Cahan told us, "A lot of people ask me if this is all done in Photoshop. Actually, very little Photoshop is used. I will only tone photos to match the paper type and, in some cases, add a bit of color curves. The actual process is done with colored resin filters that I've made being placed in front of the lens. One must remember, when a colored filter is used against a blue sky, it always alters the color of the sky. You have to know the colors you are going for and then choose a filter from there. For example, if you use a yellow filter and the sky is very blue, it will turn the sky green. This works best during sunrise and sunset. It's a bit like capturing a shadow."
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"I'm inspired by capturing light. Light as the actual revelation," Cahan tell us. "The Impressionists’ interest and application of scientific color theories – the changing effects of light and the study of tone and color – motivate my work. To me, the sun is the ultimate source of light, so it only seemed natural to pursue that source. My photographs explore the magical light during a sunrise or a sunset."