Light under Light
I explore fluorescence, a richly colored spectral dimension that is hidden in plain sight, submerged in the sea of white light in which we spend our lives. Some of that light can be absorbed and re-emitted at new wavelengths, a kind of optical alchemy that produces unexpected colors and patterns in seemingly familiar subjects. Fluorescence is around us all the time but it is weak, so we pass unaware of its presence. I work in the dark to unlock this hidden dimension with special lights and filters, then use photography to record what I find. What you see in the images is not a trick of digital processing – it is a record of what you can see with your own eyes when you explore the magic of this spectral world.
For Charles Mazel, photography was initially a tool to document his exploration of underwater fluorescence. SCUBA diving at night with an ultraviolet light and customized camera gear, he photographed fluorescing marine organisms, especially corals in the Caribbean. His discoveries and images led him into a scientific career researching fluorescence underwater and developing equipment to observe, document, and measure it, with photography as a key tool for communication. Mazel’s underlying fascination with fluorescence has broadened into an exploration of the phenomenon wherever it may occur in the world around us. His involvement with the Bedford Center for the Arts Photography Group provided feedback from colleagues and professionals that has led to a new focus on the artistic aspects of fluorescence.
Mazel’s underwater fluorescence images were featured in a solo show in MIT’s Strobe Alley and in a two-person show at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. He has had individual images, from both below and above water, in a curated show at the Joyce Goldstein gallery in SoHo and in juried exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Bedford Public Library, and the Providence Center for Photographic Arts. Residing in Bedford, MA, Charles has a small company, NIGHTSEA, that develops equipment used by researchers, industry, divers, and others to view and document fluorescence.
Contact Charles Mazel