Visible light: Alexander Harding

By Alessandro Trabucco

Alexander Harding was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1980. His photographic research focuses mainly on sunlight and by taking pictures he wants to catch and to represent the rays of light as physical objects.

Harding makes use of the camera as this is the most immediate and most suitable means of expressing his desire to closely and carefully observe the sunrays spreading all around, allowing him to record sunrays’ movement and “behaviour”. The artist doesn’t choose any linguistic intermediary, neither has he the intention of reinterpreting the sunlight’s observation with metaphors or symbols. He rather prefers to portray its magnificent presence in the daily life, the feelings it evokes by simply appearing as it is, wonderful and mysterious life force: images of light created by light.

Photography as a tooling to “write with light”: this is what Alexander Harding does. Photography as a means of communication between the outside world and the artistic creation. His pictures take nourishment from the same substance they are made of, they rediscover their own origin without falling into a mere descriptiveness or a simple realization of an event happening in that precise moment before his eyes. It seems there is a desire to mold the light beam by adding substance to the intangible, by emphasizing the shape of the light beam and then giving it back as something solid of which it is almost impossible to measure size and intensity, after having transformed what is transparent and invisible — or visible by virtue of its own constituent essence – into something which can be touched.

All this is a real tribute to the sunlight, that Harding sees as it really is, something we all forget to observe in amazement and to appreciate with gratitude in its full beauty and essence, in its being a gift from universe thanks to which the human being, all the things, the whole world can exist, a beneficial energy that gives life, joy and vitality.

With Visible light the attempt to capture the imponderable becomes a concrete possibility thanks to the creative act. With his pictures Alexander Harding manages to convey all the expressive appeal that permeates this creative act, in a perfect balance between the visual magic of the photographed instant and the personal experience everybody can re-experience anytime, whenever we want.



The picture perfectly transforms into images the artist’s desire of capturing the intangible by just directing his camera towards a ray of light, which represents something tangible and real. It’s not just a transient occurrence of a precise moment picked out from the incessant temporal flow, it becomes an effective means of visual dialectic with the surroundings, a physical connection between the source from which it originates and the end point, where – instead of vanishing – it becomes something complete and eternal.

1. Six Suns.
2. 11:23 a.m.
3. Light Reflecting off Three Mirrors
4. 10:01 a.m.
5. 9:48 a.m.
6. 9:24 a.m.
7. 5:56 p.m.

All images are: Film Negative, Archival Inkjet Print 2010
Images courtesy of Alexander Harding and Panopticon Gallery, Boston, MA

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