Light is of course essential to photography. The very word “photography” means light-writing. The contrast between light and darkness is what defines the images we see.
One of the reasons I’m drawn to black and white photography is that the image is reduced to shapes and tonal contrasts. Removing color turns a representational photo into an abstract one and allows me to appreciate the structure and tonality of the image, from the stark contrast of a silhouette to the complexity of a black and white landscape.
Urban settings are at their most colorful at night, when city lights add to the scene.
This interplay of light and darkness is also a theme in theological and liturgical reflection on the nature of good and evil. In the prologue of John’s gospel, the Word of God is the light shining in the darkness, a light that shows us the way to salvation and life. It’s no accident that we celebrate Christmas at a time when the sun begins to grow stronger and shine longer with the passing of each day.
As we prepare to celebrate the new year, may the Light of Christ shine on our way and lead us along the path of life.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5)