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The Problem with the Dark Aesthetics in Film and Shows

As a viewer, among other reasons, we watch movies and TV shows to escape and be entertained. However, the use of dark imagery has become a trend in many productions, which can contribute to a bad watching experience.

When scenes are overly dark or lack proper lighting, it can make it difficult to see what is happening on screen. This can lead to confusion for the viewer and detract from the story being told. It can also be physically uncomfortable to strain our eyes to see what’s happening.

While it’s important to respect the author’s intent, there are ways to incorporate mood and atmosphere without sacrificing the viewer’s experience. Lighting should be used to create tension or set the tone without compromising visibility.

Additionally, it’s essential to think about accessibility. Dark imagery can be particularly challenging for viewers with visual impairments or older audiences who may struggle with their sight. It’s important to ensure that everyone can enjoy the production fully.

Is this really a question of opinion or fact? Some even say that the alleged similar experience faced by a character in the dark is not faithfully reproduced on screen because of the way our eyes and vision adapt to dark surroundings.

  • I suggest you Google this trend because it is a trend. Check Variety and others. Accessibility is totally on point here. How can you appreciate a movie if you cannot see the scenes? 14 million people in the US are visually impaired (2006, according to the National Institute of Health). http://surl.li/ghnlm — Check it, a quick Google research on the theme. And I do not need to give tons of examples and stuff. This is a topic suggestion, not an article afaik. This is not a personal matter at all, this is considering other people who might have other problems with accessibility. – Beatrix Kondo 1 year ago
  • This is a topic I've seen complained about recently. In discussion of it, I often see a quote from the cinematographer of the Lord of the Rings movies brought up: when asked on a set where the light comes from, he simply said 'same place as the music'. Some people (me included) see this as a good approach, with lighting being important to have even when it's not 'realistic'. – AnnieEM 1 year ago
  • This is a fantastic observation of an aesthetic issue. The film industry has relied on lighting to provide depth and ambiance since the golden age of Hollywood. Many black-and-white movies relied on stark lighting differences in order to communicate the tone and the weight of the moment, such as On The Waterfront, Stage Fright, and other films. Another aspect is the use of color. Wong Kar-wai is a master in mood lighting without sacrificing color or suspense. Seeing the ways that old Hollywood mastered communication through lighting and the way that international cinematographers create visual complexity could be a good aspect to explore. – LadyAcademia 12 months ago
  • Dark aesthetic is beautiful but I agree, one can only appreciate it if one can see it. Both Peter Jackson and Gullimore del Toro have commented on the artificial 'unreal' lighting on their sets, that it's perfectly fine to have dark aesthetics, but one needs to see the art you create so you have to take some liberties in order for it to be appreciated, and I completely agree. – Veara 12 months ago