Rick Sands: Breaking The Light Barrier

Saturday, August 29–Thursday, September 3, 2015 Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y.

“I always call him ‘the genius of light’. He puts all of the lighting scenes together. He thinks differently than everyone else I know. He just responds to light. It’s remarkable.”
—Gregory Crewdson on Rick Sands


Over the course of six days, workshop participants collaborated with master illuminator Rick Sands to learn how to see, understand, and realize various lighting scenarios. The class discussed philosophies of lighting techniques, and Sands shared his insight on the five properties of light and how they interrelate: quality, quantity, color, shape, and direction. The workshop was a mixture of lighting theory and hands-on practical exercises. Aperture’s Chelsea gallery was transformed into a lighting studio for participants to experiment and arrange various lighting scenarios.
On the second day of the workshop, students were challenged to recreate a scene with complex lighting. Each participant brought in found images and worked in teams to reproduce the lighting set-ups from those images, while employing techniques discussed the previous day.
Rick’s attention to detail and extensive knowledge about how to control light were invaluable to the students as they explored new approaches to lighting. Participants completed the workshop with a new lighting vernacular and experience that will help them in the future, in the design and execution of diverse photographic projects.


I have many years of experience with lighting, but still felt that going back to the basics and learning them again from a master would be eye-opening. We all discover our own ways of doing things and sometimes can get stuck in a rut of ‘what works for you.’ I felt that taking a step back would be a good move, and it was indeed. Rick’s class opened my eyes and will forever change the way I see and use light!.”


The ‘theory’ of lighting, coupled with hands-on practical exercises, is a good balance to develop my techniques in lighting. Rick Sands is also very experienced, and his expertise and experience make the workshop very enriching..”


—Workshop participants


Rick Sands is a film technician whose roots are in cinema production. His portfolio includes thirty-five theatrically released motion pictures with directors such as Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, forty-seven television movies, and countless one-hour television episodes. His work in advertising has won him several ADDY awards. Through his unique collaboration with Gregory Crewdson, Sands’s lighting has been featured in six books and several international exhibitions.



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