How light or dark an object or element is, independent of its color. Shading uses value to depict light and shadow and show volume/form.

In general, work using a full range of values will stand out more and be visually richer and more pleasing. Purposely using a limited range of values (all darks, grays, or lights) can set the mood of the piece, from mysterious to peaceful to ethereal. Work that uses only very bright and very dark values, with no grays or middle tones, is very contrasty and can be very bold, stark and stylized.

Low Key and High Key

Pictorial works that exhibit mostly dark values (dark or minimally lit subject on dark background) are called low key, while works with brightly lit subjects and washed-out or white backgrounds are called high key. High key is used in female portrait photography, for example, and can convey delicacy, innocence and dreaminess. Low key work can create a sense of the nocturnal and secretive, of things hidden just beyond sight.

Alaska photograph by Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado

Vessel With Lines by David Roberts

David Roberts - Vessel With Lines, 45x45 cm

Sin City by Frank Miller

Frank Miller - Sin City, comic and movie comparison shot.

Harry Callahan - Eleanor, Chicago, 1947

Harry Callahan - Eleanor, Chicago, 1947

time well spent

closeup view Jack Troy cup, links to Jack Troy artist page

time to explore

link to newest page of ceramic artist links, including link to Scott Parady, pictured

time flies

Link to monthly image blog