First, apologies for the gap between my last blog and this one. No real excuse/reason - just developing new projects, working with images rather than words, organising an extensive back catalogue, and beginning the process of setting up potential new exhibitions. Wherever the next exhibition will be, it will be my tenth so I am hoping for a special gallery, one that will also respond to the fact that I can offer workshops, talks and pop-up portrait studios during the exhibition.

In the meantime I have enjoyed photographing sculpture and statuary in museums with the intention of expanding the project to include statues and sculpture in public places, especially pieces commissioned by local towns and councils. Having photographed Anthony Gormley's extraordinary figures emerge from the sea on Crosby Beach, and driven past The Angel of the North recently, I know how powerful (and controversial) some of our public installations can be.

I have particularly enjoyed photographing statues and busts made of marble as it has a very beguiling way of absorbing and reflecting light at one and the same time. In museums the challenge is to find a background that doesn't distract so the focus is on the impact of the piece being photographed. However, that sometimes results in taking the final shot from unusual angles which can lead to surprisingly revealing images. It has made me reflect on the contrast between taking portraits where the subject changes expression moment by moment, and the static nature of a statue. By moving around to look at a statue or bust from different perspectives it can sometime look as if the expression of the face and body changes, creating very different emotional impacts. Tricks of the light of course... but then photography is so much about the play of light on one's subject.



Beauty. In the eye of the beholder holding the camera? But is it shared by the viewer who sees the image without the benefit of context or cultural communion? Movement. Mood. Face and Landscape.

Time. Still or passing? A moment in time - the decisive moment? Anticipated or happening to be there? Time of day? Time written on a face. An era in time; a set to capture the current fascination with all things retro. Time to kill; the rigours of waiting.

Justice. Asexpressed by judgement or understanding? Or kangaroo court where it is more likely to be revenge or retribution? Relief and/or closure for the victims. For those left behind to grieve. As a process with all its pomp and ceremony. As a symbol, blindfolded standing aloft the Old Bailey.

Peace. Of mind? In our time? At rest; at last? The absence of war. Absolution's reward? The sleep of the just.

Wisdom. Experience distilled. In the eyes. Humbled by knowledge, thus shared. Teacher and pupil. Light in the dark. Not just the prerogative of age.

When photographing such fundamental concepts lateral thinking often helps to give them a concrete shape or image. Go beyond the obvious.




Dark Skies – a storm deciding when to break


Dark skies accumulate greys like threats. They charcoal

The sky, smudge the evening, taunting a watercolourist’s

Palette. Clouds are bruisers, throwing muscular punches

That batter a sky which tries to hoard its light for surreptitious

Glances between these pugilists’ gloves. But they squall

Together again to vent damaged egos, demanding retribution.


Later they brood into darkness, brawlers soft-headed

By too many blows, shifting their overweight bulk to hang

On each other’s necks and shoulders, exhausted by in-fighting.


Sometimes, for me, words and images complement each other in a way that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.


I was given some good advice by my elder daughter over the weekend when we were talking about the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition run by the NPG. She said that one way to distinguish between the impact of possible portraits I might enter is to choose the one which hints at a narrative, or tempts the viewer to create a story because the expression is so strong, or which has a quizzical quality that appears to suggest there is a story to be found behind the eyes.

What is always certain is that it must be technically exceptional (unless it is deliberately using a technique that makes a premeditated virtue of a lack of sharp focus, or even composition. Last year's winning entry was a very sharp group portrait of the photographer's daughter and four of her friends, some of their possessions on the table in front of them. Not one of the five girls caught the eye of the camera. So it looked deliberately staged, stylised. Although supposedly friends, they looked detached from one another, almost as if the word 'friend' was being defined as a Facebook construct where friendship has been confused with mere casual contact, and thus been devalued.

Maybe that's what the photographer was saying; that today it is difficult for young people to know not only who one's real friends are, but also what that friendship stands for. In that sense, it made me think. It wasn't the image I would have chosen to win but it made me think. It started a conversation inside me.

Do I have a portrait that does the same thing? I will be showing the five or six portraits I have shortlisted to others - some knowledgeable about photography, others because they will give me an honest, 'layman's' response. Hopefully, out of that process, it will be easier, rather than more difficult, to make my choice.

One good omen: the NPG sent me an email today to remind me of the closing date for entries (July 5th).




As far as light is concerned, there is 'grey' and 'grey'. The one dulls everything, makes it difficult to bring out highlights, deprives colour of its energy, flattens perspective. The second somehow has at its heart an invisible light that still manages to enhance a scene by gilding things with a soft silvery light. In fact, the difference between these two types of light, sometimes almost invisible to the eye until one begins to take photographs, is almost like the difference between old pewter and unpolished silver.

Setting out on my walk yesterday evening I almost decided to leave my camera behind as the light looked so unpromising. However, once down by the harbour I noticed that there was a subtle glow to the horizon and layers of cloud could just be picked out as the sky shuffled myriad variations of grey. And, when I began to photograph some large metal buoys that were up on the quayside for refurbishment I noticed that their colours had a gentle glow. It was almost as if the greens and rusty oranges refused to be diminished. It was the same once I went down to the water's edge. There the colours of the boats became magnified by the light reflected off the water, and the red pennants flying above the fishing boats slashed their colour defiantly against the grey sky.

Furthermore, this same grey also added a calm stillness to the harbour that made the whole scene feel like a painting. And my final shots for the evening were wide angle shots of this scene that I am looking forward to downloading to see whether I have been able to re-create that sense of a painting that soothes the senses.


Being able to exhibit one's work is a terrific opportunity for a photographer in a number of ways. But deciding what type of exhibition one wants, what its purpose is, can be difficult. Sometimes the space or location determines what photographs one exhibits. Or maybe it is a way of testing out the success of a new project or style. At other times it can be purely a mercenary exercise in the sense that the photograhs chosen are those one thinks are the images most likely to sell.

Whilst selling one's work, knowing it will grace a wall in someone's house, can be very gratifying (and economically necessary!), having an exhibition purely for commercial purposes I have found to be the least satisfying, even when a significant proportion of the images have sold.

Photography's potential has been expanded so much by the advent of digital technology that what I enjoy most about exhibiting is showing new, experimental work, often deliberately placed alongside more traditional images. Again, how successful this is, in part, is determined by the layout of the exhibition space...too unsubtle a juxtaposition of two images can kill the impact of both, whereas a small physical barrier of some kind can allow each image to work both autonomously and in contrast to each other.

If one chooses to exhibit irrespective of sales then I feel it is important to make sure those who view the exhibition have the opportunity to feed back their comments. Accompanying patrons around the exhibition (as long as they are happy for such company) can be fascinating and enlightening. Having a visitor's book in which people are encouraged to write a short comment can also be illuminating.

Finally, how one titles each photograph is also important. Too obtuse a title can put off the viewer before they even have a chance to take in the image fully. A witty title can enhance a photograph's comic potential. A subtle title can make the viewer look more closely by giving the image an unexpected perspective or context. In the case of ongoing projects where the intention is that each image should build on the previous one, a sense of the project's progression and development can also be helped by astutely chosen titles.

Visitors to exhibitions often want space in which to make up their own minds and have a privacy of reaction to the images before them, as well as some interaction with the person who has created those images. I make it clear that I value constructive criticism rather than just praise or rejection, for an exhibition is one of the best ways to assess whether that latest experiment is creating the anticipated impact or not.



It may sound an obvious thing to say but I find that photographing a whole family is much harder than photographing an individual member of that family. A group photograph demands a very different approach as you may well be dealing with people who have various reasons for wanting (or not wanting) to be there. There can be rivalries between siblings to deal with. I have had situations where one or other of the parents has driven the shoot against the wishes of the other partner - in these situations it is usually the wife who has taken the initiative. If there are big age differences between the children this too can present problems when trying to set up a balanced photograph - and very young children often have a very unnatural attitude towards being photographed, forcing expressions such as smiles so that they look false.

My way of dealing with this is to encourage the family to have individual photographs of the children taken first. This allows me to establish a relationship with each sitter separately during which you try to establish a trust with them and emphasise that the whole process can be fun.

Once these have been taken, then I gather the family together. The most recent shoot I have done of this kind was in a beautiful garden adjoining a small lake. I had plenty of backdrops to exploit and the light was pretty even although, as the late afternoon moved towards evening, a bright sun emerged. At this point I placed the family under a delicately leafed tree in dappled light. By placing them carefully and making this whole procedure an open discussion they began to feel part of the creative process rather than passive 'pawns'. Once we had settled on the grouping it was far easier to sustain a light-hearted atmosphere which, in turn, made their expressions even more natural and, importantly, interactive. Banter loosened everyone up and the result was an unusual but very satisfying portrait of a family that had almost forgotten they were being photographed, yet one that had maintained their discipline.

I am always apprehensive about family photographs but when they work, they are great fun, and capturing that sense of fun is partly what makes the final image successful.


A very busy weekend doing commercial work (hence no blog on Saturday and Sunday) has brought into focus the importance of retaining a balance between photography I do as a business and photos I take for my own pleasure. Of course there is an overlap, which is why, having spoken to creative people who also try to achieve a balance between the two, it makes it even more difficult to have the discipline to set aside time for projects one initiates oneself.

The portraits I took over the weekend, each presenting their own lighting challenges, and the need to find new environments in which to photograph a variety of people smoking cigars so that they each one had his/her own individual identity, have been very enjoyable. Furthermore, with each session, and this is especially true ofphotoshoots on location, I learn something new, sharpen my eye, explore the camera's capabilities further, work with or around the weather. And, of course, they bring in an income whilst making new, invaluable contacts. Which is why it is easy, if one is fortunate enough to generate regular work, to go days, then weeks without doing one's own work.

Reading back this could sound like a petulant or spoilt moan. It is not meant that way at all. I know I am lucky to have this work. All I wish to make clear is that my own work is what has made me experiment and diversify in the past. Helped me to become a photographer that doesn't do just one style but thrives on exploring very different types of photography. In doing so I have created new projects that stretch not only my skills but which are also, if you want, the soul of my work. And I use the word 'soul' rather than passion there because I put passion into all my photographs for I know that is essential if I am to give every client my best shot.

By 'soul' I mean something that captures why I took up photography in the first place, a sense that it is a vital part of my creative being, just as in earlier times directjng a play fulfilled the same role. So it is something that goes beyond photography. The whole process, from having the first idea to putting it into practice, to finalising how it will be 'displayed', stimulates the imagination in a very fundamental way. Since I think imagination is possibly the most important factor that determines every human being's unique personality, I believe that working on one's own projects enriches the soul, and thus lifts the spirit. And, to bring things full circle, hopefully makes one a better photographer for the next client.  



It is always a delight to have some time in London between meetings or social events to photograph the city's extraordinarily diverse architecture.

Yesterday I was in the St James's Park district, a mixture of beautiful Georgian and early Victorian town houses (some of which have been turned into offices) and modern, almost brutalist buildings where barracks have been extended or new offices have been created. 

At the heart of this area, above the tube station, are the offices London Underground, an art deco building, replete with sculptures and faces that are like a combination of Soviet-inspired muscular men celebrating the blue collar worker, with Eric Gill's sensuous lines. The building rises like something out of Fritz Lang's Metropolis with ledges at various heights breaking up a sheer façade punctured by uniform windows. It is functional but also has an elegance that captures the physical beauty of the workers it celebrates.

Only a stone's throw from that building is a portico to an early Victorian terraced building that feels Jacobean. The wood that frames what would otherwise be a typical, unremarkable, Georgian or early Victorian entrance has been stripped and reveals beautiful carvings reminiscent of Tudor or Jacobean woodwork - at one and the same time it is rather an anomaly in this street but also striking in its confidence.

A short walk away is St James' Park itself, on this particular day full of lovers and families lying on the glass or picnicking or standing on the bridge above the lake feeding a wide variety of water fowl. Depending on your standpoint, the lake reflects at various points Buckingham Palace, buildings on Whitehall and the London Eye - all very different landmarks in a city that never stops evolving yet appears to be able to retain its identity and protect its heritage.

So, there is never a shortage of architectural surprises for the photographer - whether in the detail, the juxtaposition of style or the unexpected vista.



Outside it is shouldn't be quite so dark at this time. But someone has charcoaled the sky and hidden its secrets behind ominous shadows and a devious light that seems full of secrets, some of which we may feel wary to uncover.  At the moment the lighting is tentative, announcing itself half-heartedly. However, one can sense that soon there will be a revelation so bright the sky will seem scarred and gashed. I stand in my attic and look out of the new windows at a sea which appears to be in collusion with the sky - they have brewed this storm together. Just now the horizon disappeared as if they had deliberately removed that comforting pencil line that separates air from water.

I am reminded of a colour slide I took many years ago on a mountain in the Pyrenees when sheltering in a tent high up on a slope. A similar storm was pretending to shelter behind the highest peak across the valley before exploding into view like the heart of a Velasquez painting. The whole mountain shook beneath us and it did seem as if a second coming was at hand. I still have that slide and it still inspires me because when I look at it I can feel that storm again blitzing my sight yet, at the same time, opening up a view that was so extraordinary it seemed to have taken every colour in the palette and come up with colours I have never seen since.



If you can't wangle a press pass or the like, get there early so that you are at the front! With a performer like Springsteen at Wembley who regularly comes down towards and almost into the crowd, the unusual image if you are right there in the front row, is right in front of you. Otherwise, unless you have a mega telephoto lens you are left with great images of the crowd, or of the performer on one of the giant screens.

Because Springsteen elicits such devotion and everyone knows all the lyrics, and he loves interaction with the audience often inviting people up on the stage, interaction images are there for the taking. Since, I would imagine, every variation on the Boss as guitarist, harmonica player, singer, etchas been shot (and he does have a wonderfully expressive face when playing or singing his songs because he lives them afresh every time) other images can make for more interesting viewing.

For example, the fact that there is a tradition of bringing requests for songs on 'placards' (from the crude scrawl on cardboard to the sophisticated, artistic and witty) also allows for a more holistic approach to capturing the concert experience. Last night at Wembley, a girl sitting on her boyfriend's shoulders was wearing a mask of The Queen and used her placard to invite him to dance with her majesty. At another point, a young girl whose placard reminded him she would be back at school tomorrow but today ''the sun was shining'' was brought up on the stage and given the microphone. These are the unique images from such a concert and they the ones that define it more than photographs of the band or the Boss himself.

Alas I was not close enough to capture them!



If you have not seen this extraordinary book of photographs then I urge you to have a look. They are all taken in disused, dilapidated buildings or their environs. The beauty of the images comes predominantly from their stillness and the immaculate composition and lighting choices made by the photographers. Sometimes the beauty is in the detail, sometimes in the ghostly atmosphere which these spaces exude. However, sometimes it is in the contrast between how these places were used and how they have been abandoned now, between the noise and activity that must have filled them and the utter silence that now reigns as if the dust which covers everything has smothered even the echoes of past movement and sound.

The beauty is often also accompanied by a sense of wonder. A specific period is evoked by the detail or the sense of scale in some of the factory spaces creates a feeling of awe. All the images confirm what I have always felt since first taking a seminal photograph of a piece of plastic caught in barbed wire in a windy day which, when explored in the darkroom later, turned out to express the perfect form of a graceful woman in a posture that suggested she had been crucified on the wire. It sounds gruesome but, in fact,  it is a beautiful, timeless image that was entirely fortuitous in the sense that it was unforeseen at the moment of taking, but which taught me that beauty can be found almost anywhere if one looks hard enough and rejects the conventional ideas of what is beautiful.


Sherman is a master of disguise in one way yet, once we are familiar with her work, her photographs  are always distinctly hers for she is always 'hidden' within them. Using masks, prosthetics, elaborate costumes, make-up and other accoutrements, she constructs characters that are often, on first viewing, grotesque, like something out of freak show or macabre horror movie. Yet, it is always Cindy Sherman in a series of self-portraits as other personae, but transformed for the portrait into someone who makes us question the type she is representing in an extreme or distorted manner. The effect is not dissimilar to the impact made by a Gerald Scarfe cartoon.

It is as if she knows we all put on masks for different occasions but stretches that concept to produce images that are almost always unsettling, and sometimes tinged with the surreal. However, more often than one might suppose, they can also be suffused with sadness, alienation or pathos. To me it is as if she is saying that no matter how much we transform ourselves we always run the risk of being outsiders, or being rejected and isolated and, as we grow into that sense of isolation our perceived difference becomes magnified until it is distorted so that, when we look in the mirror, we see someone barely recognisable as ourselves.



Macro photography often reveals the hidden patterns in things. Nature, especially, gives up its secrets when photographed closely. If you have ever seen a photograph of a snow crystal and marvelled at its complex symmetry, or looked at the way spirals are an inherent part of the way plants grow, then you will know what I mean.

I was wont to use a macro lens a lot more than I do now but I still remember the sense of wonder when such patterns became clear. These patterns have certainly remained in my memory and so, when I am experimenting with Photoshop to create design patterns of my own, I am conscious of being influenced by them. For example, mirroring a seemingly innocuous close-up can suddenly produce an image that reflects some of those 'natural' building blocks. Moreover, when photographing architectural detail one can even begin to create fantasy buildings of one's own when juxtaposing two images or superimposing contrasting shapes on one another.

As I have written about before, digital photography has allowed design and the artistic photograph to dance very closely together. Sometimes the design element is paramount, at other times, the shapes that are created, the patterns become works of art in themselves as they appear to grow, to evolve organically across the screen. 


Making the most of a grey day by photographing still life compositions indoors is a very good way to experiment with lighting, depth of field and, of course, putting together a still life 'montage' that works.

Once good place to find inspiration is to look back on the great still life painters from the past and to see whether one can re-create a modern version of one of their images. Whether it is the lustre on grapes in a bowl of fruit or the dust on leather bound books or the draping of cloth over a table so that each fold has its sensuality, each of these present a challenge that is not only fun to photograph but also helps me when I next set up a portrait session and want it to be given a context. Or photograph a specific detail in an old room to capture its history or mood.

Static things don't have to be dull. The juxtaposition of objects, whether complementary or deliberately clashing to create a slightly surreal effect, can give energy and wit to a still life. That piece of modern glass that has been locked away in a cabinet - can it be brought to life by being photographed in front of a piece of velvet with some backlighting? Or that collection of marbles - how can they be photographed to capture an image that is redolent  of childhood? Or those wilting flowers you were going to throw out - don't they have a faded beauty that says something completely different and, arguably, more interesting than when they were fresh?

A grey day need not be a wasted day photographically speaking. Light up the indoors instead.


Recently I photographed a sculptor at work. I had asked him to notify me when he was about to light his furnace before pouring the molten bronze into the moulds. The workshop is mottled everywhere in white from the plaster moulds and, as the furnace began to heat up towards the 1000 degrees plus required, aided by a lovely light seeping through the skylights, the whole space was bathed in a very distinct glow, heat waves making the shadows dance on the floor.

Photographing the process whilst trying to capture the intensity of the effort and concentration on Stephen's face and in his muscles (this was very hot, potentially backbreaking work) was thrilling. As Stephen and his assistant braced themselves to lift the large crucible of molten metal so as to be safe and accurate in their pouring (a sequence they rehearsed first every time they did this) the shape of their bodies expressed the tension between balance and strength.

As the afternoon progressed and the workshop became hotter and hotter, the strain was etched on his face by the sweat. At the end of the afternoon, I took some close up portraits of Stephen's fatigue as expressed in his eyes, encouraging him to place his hands up to his face and on top of his head as I had seen him do when he tried to make sure the sweat didn't run into his eyes.

The hands of a sculptor are so expressive. Chipped nails, strong fingers that are used to gripping tools, grasping metal, yet can also shape the most delicate of details on a statue - a combination of smithy, masseur and jewellery maker. They reflect the sculptor's love of his materials, the moulding and managing of them into sublime shapes. Precision and brute force come equally naturally. Initial wax mould to final, burnished bronze statue - all the processes are there almost carved into Stephen's hands themselves. His: fingers and palms betray burns and cuts from past efforts and are ingrained with all the materials that go into making a sculpture. Some of the best portraits showed only Stephen's eyes as the rest of his face was shaped and expressed by his hands.

Next? A musical instrument maker.



Framing any picture when it is going to be exhibited is important, and photographs are no exception. Again, I work on the principle that keeping it simple is best, using either black, white or plain wood frames (beech usually). A simple black frame, often quite thin, for Black and White photographs; a simple unvarnished wooden frame for most colour images and, when the colours emerge from a darker scene, as with my recent dawn photographs, a plain white frame.


The mounting of the photograph is equally important. For images that are A3 and above in size I work on the principle of a mount that allows ideally 10cm all the way round between image and frame, and certainly no less than 7.5 cm. This gives the photograph room to assert itself without clutter whilst at the same time giving the viewer a guide to the point of focus. One wants the frame noticed momentarily, similarly the mount, then forgotten for the rest of the time the viewer is looking at the image, as if the whole framing process has acted to separate the image from others on the same wall. The photograph has been given a spatial context, one might say.


If the photograph is strong, then simple framing will enhance that strength. A weak photograph becomes weaker the more the framing is complex in terms of mount colour or over-elaborate frame. There was a very good example of this at the gallery I went to see this morning with a view to an exhibition in early September. The current exhibition of paintings included some strong images, subtly done, but the framing and mounting was universally a distraction and did nothing but deflect the viewer's attention away from what should have been the main point of interest. It was as if the frame was trying to make a statement but the statement was at odds with the painting. Subtle effects were overpowered and even strong colours lost their way when competing with a poorly chosen colour for the frame.


Whenever I look at Michael Kenna's work from the mid 70s to the late 80s, his landscapes and townscapes seem to capture something of Bill Brandt's work whilst showing him to have established his own distinctive style . What they appears to share is a similar of mystery and isolation in the way they photographed place. Of course there are differences - Kenna loves as many subtle shades of grey as possible whereas Brandt exploited the starkness of high contrast black and white - but they both shared a love of the unexpected in the British landscape, often the juxtaposition of the industrial with the pastoral. .

Kenna likes using long exposures that soften edges, iron water to silk and make clouds of smoke seem like ghostly angels rising from menacing cooling towers. Brandt loved the way water caught the light on cobbles and slate, and mist draped itself over the hills like a shawl. Both found a way to make their images of the Industrial Revolution's heritage in our towns and cities timeless whilst still capturing something of Blake's 'dark satanic mills'. Both make you look beyond the surface, as if forcing us to narrow our eyes, thereby working harder to notice the detail.

Sometimes the exercise of placing the work of two photographers side by side can be very revealing, their similarities being as seductive as the differences which place them firmly in two different eras. But, looked at together, Brandt and Kenna show us just how versatile black and white images can be when used with such confidence and clarity of vision. As such, they can be an invaluable inspiration to those who still know that black and white photography is able to capture place, whether pastoral or industrial, in a way colour images fail to do.



One of the books in my collection of photography tomes that I enjoy revisiting time and time again is Yann Arthus-Bertrand's images of Horses. They are animals I have only had the chance to photograph very infrequently and, each time, I am made aware of the challenge they pose.

Horses are such a mixture of strength and nobility, pride and humility, gentleness and, when highly trained as racehorses, often skittish or on edge. I love them most when they are perfectly still, seemingly balanced on the tip of a hoof that, like a ballet dancers foot, angles down towards the ground. In those moments, power and grace, relaxation and awareness appear to find a perfect symmetry.

Their eyes, too, can be haunting, or gleam with a mischievous glint. When they stare at you they do seem to see into your soul as if asking are you friend or foe? I have directed Peter Shaffer's great play Equus and, apart from the extraordinary tale it tells, it is full of wonderful observations about the complexity of horses. It is not surprising that at times they have been regarded as being as regal as the kings they have carried. Alternatively, Boxer in George Orwell's Animal Farm, is all heart and Herculean strength. In literature, the death of a horse more often than not has as much impact as the death of a human being.

So, photographing such a wonderful creature is a rare privilege but also demands the same intensity of awareness that comes with taking a good portrait. If a link between photographer and horse can be established, an eye contact, an empathy, then I believe the photograph will reflect this relationship. At the end of next week I will have an opportunity to put the above to the test.


Bill Brandt's nudes are photographs which question and challenge. He uses the nude as a vehicle to investigate form, shape and pattern and he has certainly been the biggest influence on my black and white photographs of that most contentious of genres, the nude.

Unlike Brandt's nudes I do not show the model's face. My focus is entirely on the curves and intersections of the human body, sometimes in quite an abstract way, especially when I focus in on a small detail. The other influence on my nudes are Renaissance and classical marble sculptures. In order to accentuate the shape of a hip or a breast, an elbow or a knee, even the curve of a backbone, my nudes are high contrast, the flesh pure marble white, the shadows often little more than a pencil line or a subtle dark shading that barely hints at the shape it defines.

This approach places an enormous emphasis on lighting and I always use natural daylight. The smallest of shifts and turns of the body towards or away from the light source (usually a single window) can make a significant difference; either it flattens the image, thereby losing the subtlety of the effect or, conversely, it draws attention to a beautiful, often overlooked part of the body, photographically speaking, like the shoulder blade or scapula by sculpting it with shadow.