Night photography on display in December

Photographs by Rick Branscomb of Plaistow are on display at the Nashua Public Library in December.

“My first inspiration,” Branscomb says, “was Ansel Adams (isn’t he every photographer’s inspiration?), but I soon became captivated by Brassai and his images of Paris at night.”

Strong contrasts

Branscomb finds that one of the best ways to create impact is with strong contrasts of color and light and shadow and darkness. The Renaissance masters knew this, he says: “I love the way, especially in the chiaroscuro paintings of Rembrandt and Caravaggio and their contemporaries, a strong light source illuminates a part of the picture and makes that pop out of surrounding semidarkness.”

Urban night photography allows Branscomb to create that impact in his work. He finds Boston at night especially exciting, with bright lights popping out of the darkness and light reflecting everywhere near water and bridges.

Hello darkness, my old friend

Branscomb’s images are often dark, but he likes that: “For me, photographer Jay Maisel nailed it when he said, ’The more light you have in an image, the less drama you get. The details start taking over; the mystery is all gone. The effect of limited light causes drama by leaving most of the image dark.’”

Branscomb is a juried artist at the Cape Cod Art Association and a master photographer of the Cape Cod Camera Club. He has studied photography at Northern Essex Community College with Lance Hidy, who collaborated with Ansel Adams on his final books, and at the Griffin Museum of Photography. He retired as a professor of English in 2014.

Meet the artist

You can meet Branscomb at a reception on Wednesday, December 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All are welcome.