What inspires me: Isolation

I have long been a fan of Edward Hopper, I love the subject matter of his work, capturing every day scenes and filling them with different emotions such as loneliness, isolation, and boredom.  The figures in his paintings, their expressions, their body language, their quiet interactions, help to convey the mood of isolation in his work, but for me, I feel it most from his use of dramatic light and shadow.

Edward Hopper "Summer in the City"

In this painting the woman and her emotions are highlighted through Hopper’s dramatic and somewhat structured use of light.  I can almost hear her saying “what am I doing, where am I going,” and feel her loneliness despite her company.


I particularly love this painting by Hopper, “Sun in an Empty Room”  It is bleak, but it is warm, it’s uncomfortable, but it is also inviting.  This is a place you can go to look out the window and wonder.

Edward Hopper "Sun in an Empty Room"

I have been thinking about how I can put some of Hopper in my own work. On a recent trip to Copenhagen to visit some dear friends, I used my iTouch and Hipstamatic application to capture some images of landscapes and buildings as I was moving along in the train headed to their house.   At times I like the Hipstamatic because it seems like it can produce magic with the simplest effects.  Here are some of my images that have been inspired by Hopper….

I like the low dull winter light in these…

What’s next for these photographs?  I am not quite sure, but I think I might use them for some etchings.  How will I keep exploring Hopper?  I would like to continue to capture some of his ideas with photography, using some lovely laundromats we have here in Brussels.  The light, the metal, and the repetition of shapes and forms found in the laundromats appeals to me and conveys a deep sense of isolation, boredom, and loneliness.  I am excited to see if I can capture the mood I am looking for and share it with you.

Take care and thanks for reading!


6 responses

  1. I have two one person show of Hoopers painting and one thing that I came away with both times is I thought his work had a sort of dead paness about it and his painting seemed a little clumsy.

    None the less I too have enjoyed his work probably for other reasons, may be his sense of depicting a specific moment that has somewhat of a timelessness to it.

    I dont have any idea what a hipstamatic is but I like the word!

  2. I saw the Hopper exhibit at the smithsonian in D.C. a couple of years ago. What astonished me was the intensity of the colors. None of the reproductions depicted the shadows like the originals.

    • I saw the catalog from that retrospective and that is what got me so interested in his work. I have only seen a few of his pieces live, but the next time I am in NY I’m going to the Whitney where they have a big collection. You’re right about reproductions sister, they never do the original work any justice.

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