Out of the Darkness

Cimitero delle Fontanelle











                      Some people are drawn to shadows while others, moth-like, have an attraction to the light, and it seems as if you can draw parallels to character, dependent on which group people belong. If you have a dark personality the implication is that you are brooding, melancholy, and potentially dangerous, and to be light is to be breezy, bright, and cheerful.

In terms of the environment, nothing is hidden in the light, whereas low-lit spaces contain mysterious corners, holding secrets that are difficult to decipher. These unknown components are potent and full of tension. They have the power to represent anything you can imagine, from horror to romance, and can be regarded therefore as a mirror to your soul.

Shadows are the negative forms of our world. They have no structure, capturing only a distorted outline of the objects that cast them. They are indefinite, changing according to the source of the light, and are playful shape-shifters that sometimes flicker and dance. Your own shadow moves when you move, but flows over obstacles in a fluid manner, following its own path.

You can hide in the shadows. When you do, the place you have retreated to seems to become the personification of a certain, slightly disquieting mood, in that it represents an exemption from activity, a colourless world, where the effort required by your senses is lessened by not continuously being bombarded with visual stimulation. When you encounter this emptying of detail, and intercision from the light, it can be both peaceful and terrifying.

Darkness reveals the forms within it very slowly. If you take a walk on a moonlit night when the world is shrouded, not in complete blackness, but in a tiny, silvery glow, you find that silhouettes gradually become more distinct and recognisable as your eyes adjust. While the capacity of sight is reduced in conditions of low light, the other senses compensate by becoming enhanced. Sounds, scents and textures you don’t usually notice take on a new resonance, the result of this is that you read your surroundings in a different way, since you are using alternative faculties, and if you embrace this shift in perception it can be magical.

Light and dark are two sides of the same entity. They are mutually dependent, in that one can’t exist without the other. When shafts of light cut through darkness, whether man made or found in nature, powerful atmospheric drama is created. Elements emerging from the gloom take on an importance that may otherwise have passed you by, and objects or spaces are endowed with a reverential quality, no matter what their content is. You find yourself talking in a whisper, and sacred spaces come into being.

All photos taken by Ju Underwood at Cimitero delle Fontanelle, Napoli, Italia


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