American photographer Kevin Cooley creates captivating scenes in which unexpected light sources are purposefully placed against the darkness of night. Just recently, we enjoyed his Take Refuge series, a collection of images that emphasize one soft illumination set in a variety of snowy landscapes. We liked it so much that we decided to write about another of his intriguing projects, entitled Lights Edge. Just like much of his work, this particular series features a strong contrast between the natural world and a manufactured one. He uses flares in remote areas to capture one single streak of light across the atmosphere.
The solitary, glowing beams create a surreal experience for the viewer. We wonder: Is it a signal of distress? A playful display of one single firework? Is the light coming or going? Cooley’s compositions challenge us to create a narrative that explains the baffling presence of this ascending and descending light.
Regardless of what we decide for ourselves, the reality is that each light initiated by Cooley is an intentional intervention. Through his actions, he uses a manmade product to directly contradict the intriguing, mysterious beauty of nature. Cooley says, “I am interested in our collective obsession with conquering, overpowering, and controlling nature, yet there is still both a longing and a fear towards nature. We are constantly reminded that despite our best efforts, it is nature that is ultimately in control.”