Friday, May 31, 2013

Street Walker

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Vincent Van Gogh once stated, "I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." Van Gogh notably painted scenes like Starry Night, Cafe Terrace at Night, and Starry Night Over the Rhone. In these pieces of impressionist art, Van Gogh throws multiple colors into the night sky and creates a multidimensional night time landscape. Stars of white, yellow, orange and gold contrast against a deep azure, pale purple and grey-white sky. The lighting from the stars, Shakepeare's "beloved candles of the night," illuminate the village scene below, brighten the cafe after hours, and create dancing reflections across the Rhone River.

As photographers, I feel that we often allow ourselves to become slaves to lighting. We prefer natural lighting and shooting outdoors, and we squeal with delight when the camera captures hazy, warm images during the golden hour. But Van Gogh was on to something...

Last night, after dining at the enchanting Cafe Louvre where we had horká čokoláda with rum and spatzlé with mushrooms and bacon, our little trio stepped back onto the city streets. It had stopped raining, and bodies warm with food and wine and rum, the lingering cool temperature had no effect. The city seemed to further entice us to explore with its empty streets and alleys, car lights streaking across the cobblestone roads, and tall lamps standing as torches to light our way.

Thus, we began to explore Prague at night. We became nocturnal and the city became alive. A haze hung over us from light pollution, but we merely laughed, took photos, and danced down historically rich corridors. Prague, with its many styles of architecture and age-old buildings, creates a mosaic of time and colors during the day. At night however, the city reveals more shadows and more highlights, neon shop signs and silhouettes of strangers. We stumbled, drunk with curiosity and amazement at the lights and colors around us (not drunk with alcohol, mom and dad), and wound up at the opposite end of the city from our apartments. We found ourselves lost in the darkness, but also lost in this new found light.