Let their be lighting

Cinema and photography students say lighting is a crucial part of their art. Until this semester, lighting as a course had been missing from the John Brown University catalog.

This semester, in an attempt to get a better handle on the subject, both majors are able to enroll in the lighting course. Steve Snediker, visual arts instructor, teaches the new lighting class. He says it is a much needed addition to his students’ academic load. “Lighting is a need we’ve never been able to fully explore.”

He added that the course will emphasize the physics of light and will appear to be more like a hands-on science course at the beginning of the semester.

Photography and cinema students understand the importance of light in their works. But, because of the short amount of time spent focusing on this aspect in the classroom, some have realized they are lacking in this area.

Excited to be able to get hands-on experience, senior photography major Leisl Raikes says she jumped at the opportunity to register for the class. Raikes says that her love for science came before her love for art, making this course even more appealing.

“I’m glad to know that we are learning what light is,” she said. “Understanding why something works will help us more in the long run than just knowing that it works.” Raikes also adds that, “without the science, we wouldn’t have any of this technology anyway, so why not let that science help us as artists?”

Angela Morse, a sophomore majoring in both cinema and photography has a unique opportunity to see both her majors overlap in this class.

“Lighting is something I think everyone struggles with,” she said. “It’s a concept we don’t think about because it’s just there.”

Halfway through the semester the two majors will split to concentrate on the individual needs of both majors. While photography majors will learn more about portrait and product lighting, cinema majors will be challenged to understand lighting for scenes.

As Morse explained, lighting for cinema can be a challenge due to the constantly changing elements of a scene. “In photography, you set up lighting, and it can stay that way, and you just keep shooting,” she said. “In cinema, lighting changes.”

Not only will both groups of students get their specific needs met, they will also have guest speakers challenge them. One of the guest speakers will be Neal Holland, associate professor of visual arts.

“I’m really looking forward to the other teachers who will be coming in to lead the photographers, so that we get more than just one teacher or mentor’s point of view and work-flow,” said Raikes.

Snediker also believes that having a new perspective on a basic principle of cinema and photography will help students become aware of their weaknesses and be able to overcome them.