1st Edition

What Is Lighting Design? A Genealogy of People and Ideas

By Michael Chybowski Copyright 2024
    340 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    340 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    What Is Lighting Design?: A Genealogy of People and Ideas explains what lighting design is by looking at the history of ideas that are a part of this craft and how those ideas developed.

    Lighting design began in the West with the Renaissance, and each historical period since then has modified how and why light is used in performance, the methods for producing light, and the consensus around what its purpose is. Exploring each lighting design era and the basic components of lighting design, the book discusses how the central ideas of this craft developed over the past 500 years, what today’s lighting designers are concerned with, and how lighting design contributes to performances.

    This book is designed as a main course text for History of Lighting Design university courses and a supplementary text for and introduction to Lighting Design, Stagecraft, and Scenography courses. It will also be of interest to directors, choreographers, and working lighting designers who wish to explore the history and meaning of their craft.

    1. Introduction  2. Some Early History  3. Lighting Reforms  4. More Recent History  5. Adolph Appia & The New Stagecraft  6. The Spotlight Era  7. The Fundamental Properties of Light: Angle, Intensity, Color  8. Control  9. Space  10. Time  11. Dramatic Intention  12. What Is Lighting Design?


    Michael Chybowski is a freelance lighting designer and an Associate Professor of Lighting Design at the University of Connecticut. His work in the fields of theatre, opera, dance, performance art, and film has been seen throughout the United States and around the world. Long-term collaborations include work with the artist Laurie Anderson, the choreographer Mark Morris, and many theatres on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally within the United States, Europe, and Asia.

    “Chybowski has captured the voices of the last seventy years of design. This book lays out the connective tissue that binds us all to our profession and we witness the rise of lighting as a legitimate art form. […] What Is Lighting Design? A Genealogy Of People And Ideas is a compelling must read. It is a book filled with stories of possibilities…not rules.”

    Steve Woods, Live Design