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You Say Light – I Think Shadow

by Joachim Ritter

light-shadow_01 Why don’t we do what we believe deep down inside is right? Perhaps because we only think we know what we are doing…

The basis for lighting design is not light but darkness. According to Christian belief, we all started from nothing, and from darkness. And then God said: Let there be light! Not man, nor beast, nor nature, but light. We can of course argue as to whether this makes sense of not, or whether there was something else more important than light. What is clear – according to the Bible at any rate – is that it was not light that God came across when preparing for the creation. It was darkness He had to get right first. Which is why it is also darkness that lighting designers need to focus their design skills on – or should be focussing their design skills on. And yet for many designers light still forms the core of all their actions, probably because they are not aware of the underlying principle of design.

If we are looking for literature on shadow design, we tend to refer to “In Praise of Shadow” by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. A small book, but a standard work destined for eternity. And yet not powerful enough to change the design world. A recently published work has now taken it upon itself to address the topic anew – a wonderfully modern approach to amending our current awareness of the meaning of shadow. “You Say Light – I Think Shadow” by lighting designer and artist Aleksandra Stratimirovic and graphic designer Sandra Praun, who partnered the project, comprises references and thoughts from numerous authors who appreciate shadow in the way it deserves.

That does not mean to say that the book is a compilation of superficial ideas. Nor is it a collection of profane platitudes. And it definitely does not feature any of the shallowness you find on the Internet. The project does not contain the kind of images and photos which could easily have described to us what light means to us. It is a book full of ideas and perceptions with depth, which gain power through the selected texts and abstract graphics. A real winner. And an honour for any author who was selected to present his/her perception of shadow and the close relationship between light and shadow.

“You Say Light – I Think Shadow” is proof of the fact that the quality and depth of a book cannot always be transferred to the Net. It demonstrates that holding a book in your hands and leafing through it is a feeling comparable to a journey of discovery. It speaks of the love you feel for light or shadow, which would get lost if you tried to access it via the Internet.
Congratulations to the artist, lighting designer and author Aleksandra Stratimirovic and her project partner graphic designer Sandra Praun. I count myself especially lucky because I received a personal note from Aleksandra together with the book. This note is part of the book for me and a true delight.

This is one of the last books that deserve to be designated as an absolute must in a library.
“You Say Light – I Think Shadow”
Aleksandra Stratimirovic and Sandra Praun
Texts in English.
Art and Theory Publishing
ISBN 978-91-980874-8-2

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