Bob Kidd Photography | Light, Gesture and Color


I have never met jay Maisel, but he is one of the photographers that i take inspiration from. When his recent book Light, Gesture & Color was published I eagerly awaited my copy. I was not disappointed. It is a wonderful distillation of years of photographic experience and contemplation into three concepts: light, gesture and color. Printed in wide format as double pages, there are over 125 photographs faithfully reproduced on quality paper with corresponding commentary by the author spread out over 250 pages.

Since getting my copy I have used the term : Light , Gesture & Color frequently when posting photographs on social media. It is more descriptive than awesome (gawd how I hate that term). Everything cannot be awesome. Why you ask? Because if everything is awqesome (like when all children are "above average") then nothing is awesome anbd worse of all, it doesn't really say a thing about the photograph. Why is it awesome? What about the photograph made you say that? Was it the light, the gesture, the color? You are an adult with a computer and a keyboard...use a thesaurus, find some descriptive words. "wow" is not a word. It is an emotional exclamation. Why do I have to go through this? Well, I really don't. I can go back into Maisel's book and take refuge within actual thoughtfulness and his sincere interest in explaining what about his life's work has meaning.

When a dear friend inquired what I meant when I used the term gesture along with light and color. I had an opportunity to explain how I came by this term, as it is not mine. 


First time I saw this I thought it was one of those damned autocorrects. Then you kept posting it and I'm wondering, Does he mean "texture"?WTF is "gesture"?

Fortunately, I had Jay Maisel's words to explain gesture:

"Gesture is the expression that is at the very heart of everything we shoot...It reveals the essence of each thing we look at: human, mineral, or animal, or brick, stone, or metal. It doesn't stop there. We see it in clouds, crowds, magnificent mansions, and humble huts. We have been shooting gesture all of our lives but we didn't have the nomenclature or the compulsion to categorize it."

Of course, it is even better to hear Jay Maisel describe gesture in his own voice.

Light, gesture and color are not only the components of a photograph, but when they have an interplay among them they can make a great photograph. Of these gesture is what holds us. It is how we connect to the photograph. It maybe the gesture of an object or a human form but if it has gesture we see it. Gesture can take many different forms, but it is always the unspoken language.