Faces illuminated by …

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Faces Illuminated by Displays is a website that aggregated a series of photos tagged with faces being illuminated by the light from smartphones, computers or tablets in darkened rooms or spaces.  With that in mind, I turned to the New Yorker cover by Chris Ware illustrating a Halloween night of trick-or-treating where the faces of parents are illuminated by their cellphones against the night sky. Artists and graphic designers are noticing this visual trope as a particular kind of contemporary trend. But as I began to think of similar images that I had seen before, I return to the lush and solemn paintings of Georges de La Tour. I return to the familiar faces illuminated, not by cellphones, but by candlelight. The warm red and orange hues of the past are now replaced by the cool tones of modern displays. An image seen throughout the ages and throughout visual culture receives a post-modern technological update.

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