Did you know that “More Light!” are the often attributed last words of the German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, and scientist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)?
Throughout his life, Goethe had a deep fascination for the physical and metaphorical effects of light on humans. While being best remembered now for his literary works, he himself believed the scientific treatise, The Theory of Colours, which he published in 1810, to be his most important work.
Although a confirmed non-believer for almost all of his life, a year before dying Goethe sided with the eclectic Hypsistarian sect, writing in a letter to a friend that:
“A joyous light thus beamed at me suddenly out of a dark age, for I had the feeling that all my life I had been aspiring to qualify as a Hypsistarian.”
He spent the evening before his death discussing optical phenomena with his daughter-in-law.
All of the above might lead us to believe that his celebrated deathbed cry of Mehr Licht! (More light!) was a plea for increased enlightenment before dying. The truth appears to be more prosaic. What he actually said (in German) was: “Do open the shutter of the bedroom so that more light may enter.”
Well, that’s one theory anyway. There seem to be several others even though people were present at his death.
At any rate, “More light” is an excellent phrase for photographers. I prefer late afternoon light the most because of the sharp contrasts and vivid colors. How about you?
Oh, and I know I over-photograph my hibiscus plant but I’m constantly stunned by its beauty and its profusion of blooms so I can’t help myself. Each flower seems prettier than the last.