I recently discovered a project by a photographer called Andreas Levers. The project that caught my eye is called ‘At Night’ Here’s the link to his Behance page – https://www.behance.net/96dpi which has more of his work also.
I’ve been throwing ideas back and forth for my upcoming final assessment for DPP and as it’s a personal project it can be anything I want. I was contemplating doing some sort of night photography as I’ve yet to push my limits in this aspect.
I really admire how strikingly simple his images are. they are void of any kind of human interaction, or presence, creating an eerie feeling. I think they’re brilliant, the use of mist and street lights creates such a great effect.
Definitely something that has influenced me.
My tutor also introduced me to the work of Nick Turpin:
Nick’s style is very different to Valerie Jardin’s (previous post) as he mainly shoots in colour. The key thing i’ve noticed and admire about Nick’s work is that it’s all about positioning and timing.
He sums up my views/struggles of street photography fantastically ; “Making something out of nothing with a small camera and standard lens in a public place is the hardest challenge in photography”
Many of his images have an element of forced perspective through his perfected timing and positioning of his shots. For example – the ‘can fountain’ image below:
Nick’s attention to detail and timing is truly inspiring – the above image would be so much weaker if the fountain was offset from the can in the foreground. In this instance it really is about precision timing.
He also seems to take a subject or meaning, and adds a literal/physical aspect to it, as exampled below:
He shoots polar opposites as seen below with ‘men at work’ I especially like how the 2 sets of men are walking in different directions – this adds to the impact of the contrast. (I also love the fact that the 2 builders have hard hats on and the 2 suited men are both bald…this adds a feel of consistency and symmetry)
Being armed and ready at all times for that split second opportune moment must be difficult, but Nick never fails to produce interesting thought provoking images, like the one below of a passer by unknowingly mimicking the pose of the model on the side of the bus:
It really does go to show that with a bit of creativity, patience and effort – the general public can pose as subjects for some really great images.
I was unaware of Valerie Jardin’s work until my tutor pointed me in the direction of her website:
Valerie is renowned for her street photography, which seems to have taken her all over the world. What I really admire about her work is that it comes across as so effortless. She shoots predominantly in black and white which instantly adds an air of old fashioned glamour. Her shots have great clarity, with no noise, making them appear silky and smooth.
I love that she seems to shoot everyday objects and events – there’s a specific shot of a man with a cigarette in his hand, writing in a cafe while there’s an out of focus coffee cup in the shot – depth is added by focussing beyond the cup, while the cup itself adds an aesthetic element:
There’s also a shot of a man reading his book on a bench. Nowadays people think they need to add some sort of action or interesting subject for a photograph to be interesting and current, but Valerie has proved that this isn’t so. Simplicity, done right, can be as impacting as a bustling crowded street scene. The photo uses the rule of thirds, and has strong lines. The contrast between the white pages of the book and the bench against his black garments really make it stand out.
One of my favourite shots is of a group of nun’s photographing a building on their mobile phones – what a gorgeous concept. It incorporates both old and new – old being the traditional attire and ancient history of their religious beliefs, and new being the up to date technology in which they capture and record their memories.
I had a similar experience when travelling around Asia. While in Thailand I saw a Buddhist Monk carrying a laptop – I was briefly baffled by the contrasting visuals; the traditional robes and barefoot appearance of the monk juxtaposed by the swanky apple laptop under his arm.
I’ve previously mentioned wanting to do long exposure shots but as of yet I don’t own a neutral density filter. After researching online I found multiple articles that claim a sheet of welding glass can give the same results.
So, I purchased a sheet off eBay (shade 12, as dark as possible) for just £1 – this has got to be worth a try!!
The set up was a bit fiddly – it involved numerous rubber bands and I had to focus my shot before attaching the glass over my lens, as there was no way I could actually see through the glass once on.
The glass is tinted green – there’s no way around eliminating this from the image – so shooting in RAW is a must. It’s the only way to process the image to the correct colour.
I experimented with shutter speed times ranging from 3 minutes to 13 minutes.
Here’s 2 of my favourites, both with minimal editing – just white balance correction and some minor hue alterations.
They’re of the same view, but at different times before sunset, resulting in a noticeable difference in colour.
As I was shooting a sunset directly in front of me, the movement wasn’t too drastic, and it was a very still evening so the clouds were fairly motionless but it was a great experiment.
I’m really pleased with the outcome. Not bad for a quid….
I have been reading articles on this subject since stating part 4 and found a very interesting piece written by Nasim Mansurov. It covers all areas where editing and manipulation could be ethically questionable.
Here’s the article:
The section on portrait and fashion photography really demonstrates how much almost everything we see in magazines and media is edited.
It also raises the idea that although most photographers are adamant they do not edit their material, the fact of the matter is they do tweak it here and there – white balance, colour correction, contrast and brightness etc. The nature photography paragraph is a great example of this.
There’s an extremely fine line between editing to ‘correct’ and editing to ‘change’.
I previously voiced my opinion on HDR (high dynamic range) photography on here, stating that done subtly I like it, but done too much and it can start to look too contrasty and cartoon-like. (Click here for the post)
I wondered, however, how HDR shots would look when converted into black-and-white. I was especially intrigued to see the effects of the sky and clouds. The expansive range must add a significant amount of depth and tone.
As i’m not a huge fan of HDR I don’t have many images in my archive (this is something I will experiment with though) so here’s several examples that popped up on Google search.
I think black and white HDR, even when done to a moderately high extent, is actually a great creative tool in adding layers and tones to black-and-white photography. There were a few examples that appeared a little ‘over done’ and had that unrealistic feel to it, but on the whole I quite like it.
An HDR black-and-white image that really caught my eye while researching comes from photographer John Hobson: (http://johnhobsonphotography.com/category/hdr/)
I love the dramatic, ominous mood he’s created using HDR, especially how it’s effected the sky. This is definitely a tool I’ll be keeping in mind for black-and-white photography, and I may even attempt to include a bracketed shot in my upcoming assignment.
I’ve recently discovered the work of English photographer Michael Kenna. Like Ansel Adams, the majority of his portfolio is landscapes. Kenna is known for producing exposures of up to 10 hours, usually at dawn or at night – which produce silky, soft looking images – a contrast from the stark dramatic images previously researched on Adams. His images that incorporate water are often long exposure shots which is a technique used to remove the movement of ripples and waves; creating soft, smooth water, it almost looks like mist.
Kenna also uses water as a reflective tool which adds symmetry to his images. Something I feel works extremely well in black-and-white.
Having experimented with the starker, more dramatic black-and-white effects, i’d like to try and create softer images in the style of Kenna.