Natural Light

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Harald Mante, Mante, photograph, colour photograph, multiple images, series, sunset, photography, photographic process, light, colour saturation, saturation, 2D art, two-dimensional

Harald Mante's Sonnenuntergang shows the passage of the sun across the sky, or, more accurately, the passage of the earth around the sun. By taking multiple images, Mante was able to show the process of a sunset as it happened; this depiction of a process through many images is not unlike film, which is merely a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of photographs taken and played back at very high speed. The German title of this work, Sonnenuntergang, translates literally into English as "Sun Underway," or "Sun Process."

What is important about this photograph is that it performs something called honesty with regards to materials. That means that the  contentThe subject matter of a work of art and what it suggests about that subject matter. This includes the ways in which that work of art can be plausibly interpreted.  (a sunset) is reflected in the  mediumAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  (photography). This is because both sunset and photography are about what happens when light affects something, whether that something is the evening sky or a roll of film.

When photography was young as a technology, people did not talk about it as we talk about technology now. It was called "nature's pencil," and photographs themselves were called "sun pictures," because early photographers needed the light of the sun to record an image.

additional resources Things to Think About


  • How is your life affected by the measurement of time? What are the ways in which time is an important factor in the things you do? Do you control time or does time control you?
Studio Activity
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The sun

Herald Mante's Sonnenuntergang shows the passage of the sun across the sky – shows the process of the sun setting.

What is the sun like where you live?

  • Imagine the sun has a human personality.
  • Describe this personality in as much detail as you can think of.
  • If the sun were a person, would it be male or female?
  • Would he/she have any hobbies, or be all business; chew gum or drive a car; be friendly or hostile; be anxious or relaxed?
  • Illustrate your sun's characteristics with a picture or pictures.
  • If you can, send this activity to someone else over the Internet, someone who lives in another place, then compare the characteristics of your suns.


  • This should be done when it is sunny out, then come back in an hour and trace the shadow again, without erasing the first shadow.
  • Repeat this as many times as you like over the course of a day to build up a process-image on the sidewalk.
  • OR, you can work with a partner, and have someone else trace the outline of your shadow numerous times as the sun moves over time during the day. 
  • Photograph the images tht result from this process.

Mante, Harald.  2009.  Harold Mante: Photography Unplugged.  Santa Barbara, California: Rocky Nook, Inc.

Mante, Harald.  Personal website.  Retrieved from the Internet March 22, 2009 from:

Mante, Harald.  2008.  The Photograph:  Composition and Color Design.  Santa Barbara, California:  Rocky Nook.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning