“Shining a Light is a series of photographic art that highlight both resilience as well as battles we are experiencing in this moment in time. I believe that through these dark times, a light shines through as an opportunity to wake up and accept the need for change; be the change. This is the narrative of my series.”
Shining a Light by Stefan Berhardt
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The darkness in this context is isolation, the unknown, uncertainty injustice and now unrest. Through these extraordinary changes and events we are experiencing, a chance to awaken shines through, hence the light in this context, is hopefulness. I’ve photographed a hand reaching out to the light amidst the oppressors to highlight both resilience and battles we have experienced and are experiencing in this moment. The hand that reaches out, is a hand that embraces change, it chooses to persist and fight for hope.
Apart from uncertainties that most of us are left to face in a global pandemic, for me, there is also not knowing when I will be able to physically see my parents and grandmother who live overseas. This is where I thought of incorporating paper planes, to create a dreamlike piece of photographic art. Paper planes remind you of your childhood and evoke a sense of optimism, wondering how high or where it could reach. I photographed a ray of light, along with a hand launching a paper plane, to portray not only the idea of hope and optimism, but the idea of letting go – to represent both strength and subtlety. We have to let go lightly and be hopeful, it is your will that takes flight.
Layers of Change
The sense of touch, a small luxury we have taken for granted, a simple handshake is now a forbidden gesture. I’ve used light and shadow through a layer of material which creates a pattern, an obstacle- a layer of change. Through this pandemic, we’ve all experienced layers of change. My intention was to spark the imagination of the viewer to think about how we overcome these layers and obstacles and start re-imagining the new normal.
Using hands that are separated through a cell-like shadow, I wanted to portray the notion of most of us having lost some freedom, security or control. Although staying apart keeps us together, it is also a time to find creative ways to connect and support each other through these emotions and loss.
All above photographs by Stefan Berhardt.
About Stefan Berhardt
Stefan Berhardt started out as a Graphic designer in Sri Lanka 15 years ago, and has worked in brand development, print, web and UX design.
After having migrated to Australia, he began exploring the art of photography about 3+ years ago, and hasn’t put down the camera since. Whilst it was initially a hobby, he soon began photographing events, festivals and now weddings together with his wife, as a team – Wild Hardt. His passion for photography has led him to making it part of his full-time career, and he currently works as a Product Photographer for Slimline (POS, retail, & exhibition displays).
His personal style of photography is raw and more documentary style. Stefan is obsessed with light and shadow in photography, and it excites him to use light to push boundaries of traditional photography and create interesting compositions.
Image credit: Stefan Berhardt. Photo by Wild Hardt.