Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It is not just Black & White

Very recently I have discovered my liking for black and white photography. In the digital area I have paid not as much attention to it as I should have, because it is great. It is giving you certain liberties and compositional freedom you don't always have with color photography. The obvious absence of color let you concentrate on the different values and tonality. And it makes lighting - the play with light and shadows - a more central part of the composition. In return it opens up new ideas, which one could use in color photography too.

It started a few weeks ago while visiting an exhibition on czech photographers here in Bonn where I live. One of the photographers featured was Josef Sudek and one of his still lifes reminded me of a still life I have seen years ago. Actually I don't know the if the photo I have had in mind was photographed by Sudek or not, but I was interested again to try it. So my first attempt was just a simple glass of water

Glass of Water
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

Not much of a food photograph, although water is the most important food, I like that you can play with light and try some more extreme lighting ideas you don't use that often in color food photography like hard light and strong shadows. On the other hand it is challenging to not create only blown out highlights or shadows lacking details and defintion.

The Egg Slicer
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

The idea of this 2nd photo is based on a photograph by Ansel Adams (Still Life, 1932) I found in his book 'Examples - the making of 40 photographs'. I used the egg slicer idea as the staring for my try. I used it for food still, whereas the photography by Adams is an arrangement of more or less 'unrelated' things as I see it. I like and agree very much to his remarks on this specific photograph and ideas about lighting, especially concerning the use of natural light.

Still with a Sieve
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2009

Black & White photographs are often percepted as vintage or retro style. In this photo I have used a 'modern' but ordinary sieve to avoid the idea of retro style here. Black & White is a different approach in photography but not necessarily vintage. It could be as modern or vintage as any other kind of photography. The missing of color is giving here more attention to the lines and shapes created by the shadows. And details like the little reflection of the sieve in the pot get more important.

These are the first three tries in photographing in black and white. All three are related somewhat to food photography and I will try to explore the idea of photographing food in balck & white more in the future. It is different, it is challenging, it gives you experience in using light, and it is fun.