a teatray in the sky

learning from vermeer

Posted in 5D Mark II, Lighting, Photography, Technique and Development, Virginia, Williamsburg by firthefirst on July 8, 2010

everyone has a moment in their life in which they realize they like Vermeer paintings.  for me, it was on a chilly february morning in 1996, after being dragged out of bed at five in the dark morning to go see two-thirds of the world’s Vermeers ensconced at the national gallery.  why do we all like Vermeers?

color, technique, atmosphere, and magic.  Vermeer makes 17th century delft seem like a nice place to be.  forget the great dutch tulip market crash.  forget the fact that you got to shower once or twice a month.  forget the fact that probably the most fun thing you were going to do that day was stop by the butcher’s and maybe overhear some gossip from the maids.  Vermeer negates all that, and subtly hints that everything is here and at peace, laying in golden pools of light in a red brick rowhouse overlooking the canal.  (oddly, when I think of Vermeer I also think of Caravaggio, probably because they are such polar opposites)

wending our way amongst the colonial shacks and cottages of williamsburg on sunday, I was suddenly struck by how much the scene before me reminded me of a Vermeer, a feeling of having fallen backwards in time to a colonial afternoon.

at the shoemaker’s I was delighted by the quality of light reflected against the house by the white gravel carriageway outside.  not Vermeer-like at all, but I think he would feel at home seeing this scene:

One Response

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  1. stephen yang said, on July 9, 2010 at 12:31 am

    enough with the artsy fartsy culture nonsense and back to the food porn

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