"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". - Leonard Cohen
As a Light Writer, the term indicates a mistake. Certainly, most photographers strive for control over exactly where light will place itself pertaining to both capture and final presentation. In an old school darkroom, a light leak (meaning light unaccounted for, from an unplanned source) can ruin a whole box of light sensitive material, causing each sheet to turn an even and terrible grey. It is described as "fogged" and is generally unusable. A light leak in a camera will cause a strange "hot spot" or an area of brightness that often obscures the intended image completely. In recent years though, the results of such light leaks are often appreciated, admired even. There are digital camera apps such as Hipstamatic and others that actually include a facsimile of the (originally) filmic effect. I'll leave it to sociologists, maybe anthropologists to discuss why it's happening now- I would like to read that!
Perhaps it's a natural progression of every art form, when mistakes become examined and beauty is found. Interest is stirred. Something about the Accident exposes some aspect of the ordinary as extraordinary, increasing visibility of inter-dimensionality, the former mistake becomes something of a new form in itself. A scientific attention is suddenly paid to how it happened, what can be consistently repeated and how- what are the parimeters? Again, the attempt to control. Photography, like any other religion, consists of humans trying to do their best according to their understanding and abilities. So, photographers, I ask you- Are you ok with a lens flare, or do you hate them on principle? Have you ever taken advantage of the Sabattier Effect, & if so why?
As for myself, the older I get the less I care about technical aspects for their own sake. I care about whether I like the image. There are things that it seems I must have in a photograph- I look for something in the photo to be sharp as a tack, though I'm currently examining total blur. No pure white corners, eeeeeew. I may just tolerate white edges depending on what else is going on in the frame. I have learned though to live with perceived mistakes a little longer and see if they grow on me. During current methods of artistic training, one of the things that one may learn early on is that if something that you have done artistically, or habitually bothers you there is a reason why, and that reason may be the gold at the end of the rainbow. That which you would like to discard immediately, perhaps violently, that which you wish had never happened may be the whole reason that you started the piece to begin with. Of course you won't have the answer in the middle of the painting. If you pin it up on the wall though, you may not have to work as hard to excavate it later.
When making a photograph, the "writing" aspect indicates discernment, responsibility, and (yes), exercising control culminating in the final image presented. For me, every successful photograph I make is a Light leak from the Creator that I am allowed to participate in. Whether I have made an exhaustive amount of preparations for a given image or zero (just working from accumulated training), I always feel lucky when I get a successful image. Perhaps the better term is Blessed.
I've recently been "lucky" enough, Blessed, to act as photographer for my aunt's wedding. This aunt is my father's sister, and my father is no longer on the planet in the same manner as the rest of his family, so it is all the more precious to me. My Aunt, in her mid seventies, has never been married before. I, in my mid forties, have never partnered with a special someone for more than a few months. I had not intended to be alone at my age, but aloneness, as anything else, has it's own benefits. I had intended, though, to have a small-to-large tribe of my own by now. I have come to the realization that I have been viewing my life as it is as a mistake; indeed it still feels so. The event of my aunt's wedding has been inspiring- also a dynamic reveal of inter-dimensional proportions. If one has not done what one had intended, it is experienced as a mistake. I'm coming around, as round is round, to the idea of respecting life's mistakes as much as I would respect an artistic one.