Catching the Catchlights – Weekly Photo Challenge “Eyes”
“Your eyes are full of language.”
This week’s challenge is eyes, which offered such a wide variety of responses I had a hard time narrowing my focus (pun intended!). I decided to restrict myself to some examples of catchlights. For the non-photographers among us, the dictionary defines catchlights as “a gleam of reflected light in the eye of a person or animal in a photograph.” As an example, if you click on the photo above you will see catchlights in the eyes of both subjects. I captured this moment while shooting some dockworkers in South Africa. I was struck by the world-weariness of the father vs the exhuberance of his son.
“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
I loved the quote above by Cicero, and think his idea (as well as the catchlights) is illustrated quite nicely by the photograph of the two young Thai dancers. Clearly the young dancer on the left is having a bit more fun with the moment than her partner 😊. Catchlights give our subjects an oft-noted gleam or sparkle in their eyes, which often connotes mischievousness or playfulness.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
Catchlights are also important when shooting animals. If you look closely by clicking on the photo above, you will notice that the catchlights actually reflect the photographer (yep, me!). Seeing oneself within the catchlights is always fun for a photographer, including yours truly.
“Silent words are heard through eyes.”
For several years I donated my time and photography skills to a local animal shelter for their annual fundraiser. It was a powerful illustration for me that although animals may not be able to speak our language, they can tell us what they are thinking in many non-verbal ways, including the look in their eyes.
“The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finally, I offer an example in the graphic wall art above, which I captured in Buenos Aires. In this case the artist literally painted catchlights into his colorful mosaic. How cool is that?!