Posts Tagged ‘ black and white ’

Bow Glacier Falls

It has been a few months since I last featured any of Keith Rajala‘s work, but that does not mean there has been any let-up in his quality.

Bow Glacier Falls

Reminiscent in some ways of Adams’ mountain shots – simple, compelling, with very carefully managed tonal ranges to bring out the finer details – this shot provides a sense of majesty, but controlled enough not to be overbearing.

As is de rigueur for a scene like this, it is perfectly proportioned: the foreground interest anchors in both lower corners, drawing the eye up against the water’s flow to the lower left intersection of primary golden ratios, where the detail in the tonal range keeps the eye endlessly occupied. Every part of the centre of the image includes a detail of form or texture – or nature’s rugged beauty – that could be studied indefinitely. And then the eye finally finds the falls themselves: hanging from the intersection of the right primary and upper tertiary golden ratios; a sweeping arc that tumbles lazily down the cliffs until to sweeps into the foreground path to complete a stunning S-curve.

Without doubt, a masterpiece of mountain scenery.


Something Noir

Next up in this return to posting, a stunning piece of model lighting from my friend Andy Poupart. Providing the form, the seductive Julie.

It’s quite obvious from the outset that this image breaks compositional rules. Not only is Julie positioned between the primary and secondary golden rations on the right side, her body language is providing a definite sense of movement in that same direction – through and out of the frame. And yet, the pose works powerfully in combination with the lighting and black and white processing.

In part, this is to do with the smooth yet powerful contrast across her features. Also, it is aided by the rough texture of the wall which acts as counterpoint to Julie’s soft form. That the lighting is clearly brighter out-of-frame to the right also helps provide validation for the sense of direction – dark an wild as she is, she cannot resist the light.

But the strongest element that allows the breaking of the rules to work is the arm that anchors the whole in the bottom left corner. It provides not only the anchor, but also a leading line and solid diagonal, as well as being one side of the most prominent triangle in the composition.

Another clear masterpiece.

Essence Of Venice..

I was recently introduced to the work of Stockholm-based photographer Peter Levi, whose work tends towards the black and white – simply because it lets the spirit of the scene shine though.

This image is more than just a solid composition: it is an inspirational technique; an approach to capturing the essence of a setting that I have hot seen before, but which is perfectly suited to the Venetian mystique. San Giorgio Maggiore sits in sharp focus, in the distance, the horizon almost on the centre line, surrounded by the gaping expanse of negative space that is a cloudy sky and the silvery waters of the Laguna Veneta. The monastery’s façade and bell tower are placed perfectly on primary and secondary golden ratios, balanced by the lower profile of the isle extending right-wards.

But these elements are only a part of the scene. The real magic is in the foreground, blurred by both depth of field, and the motion of a the waterways during a 79 second exposure. The triplet of gondolas, ghosted in their gentle sway, truly does capture the spirit of this sinking city…

A masterpiece of imaginative technique enhancing composition.


We return now to Canadian photographer Sandy Phimester, and his film-based work with local models.


While I could look at the two images here independently, and comment on the strength of each’s composition, it is the combination into a diptych that has real power. With its convergent leading lines and more pronounced contrast between subject and setting, the right-side image is quicker to draw one’s attention. The female form, is side-on silhouette, is undeniably captivating. But Catherine’s pose provides the element of direction to redirect one’s attention, back to the left, and the tighter portrait.

Therein, while the contrast is between elements within the model’s appearance; a full range of tone giving depth to her form.

The balance between the two images is, itself, masterful composition. Contrasting contrasts. Both black and white, yet so very different. Both capturing the essence of Catherine’s beauty.

There is more to the composition of an image than what is within it. There is the world it occupies…

PS, I love you

After a bit of a break, it’s time for the return of one of my favourite photographers: Aftab Uzzaman.

PS, I love you.

It’s not every day that I would pick out selective desaturation as a composition-enhancing technique. This work of Aftab’s, however, breaks many moulds. It does not emphasise the subject by placing it artfully on a golden ratio, but instead relies on the starkness of the red capturing our attention. In this, it succeeds well: the interplay between the drop readying to be released and its own effect within the clearness of the water – both cause and effect – hoards all attention.

It take quite an effort of will to look beyond the blindingly obvious to the other compositional elements that come into play. The easiest to discern is the use of negative space: in a world of black and white where colour is king, and there is so vibrant a dash of it, everything else – the entire greyscale scene – counts as negative space. Within this emptiness, we can then find the smooth contrast that defines the bottle, and its placement anchored within the corner. Also of interest is the depth of field employed: while the bottle may be sharp, the front of the glass is out of focus, with only the diffusing pattern of the wine within offering any sense of real clarity.

A most interesting still life.


Next up, a little Italian flavour from Keith Rajala‘s archives – the town of Montalcino.


While one could think that the processing of this image is what makes its composition – the textured sepia that gives it the feeling of an old-style scenic engraving – it is the arrangement of the elements that makes it. The processing simply adds to a mood captured in this timeless place. The dominant sky, with the roiling cloudhead, provides a backdrop to keep the interest of anyone who fails to find fascination within the body subject; that there are parallels between the shapes of these clouds and the village’s skyline only help incorporate them into the main scene.

Within the real subject area, we find a dominant leading line from near the lower right corner to the upper left golden ratio (mid-point of the church’s roofline). As this line is countered by the rise of the hill from the other side, we have an open triangle leading the eye up the the top of the village. An interesting aside on the triangle theme is the presence of a second one in the tone of the right-side roofline, brought about by perspective.

And to cap things off, we also have the road in the foreground, providing an anchoring balance point, and the implication – through the arrangement of the nearer roofs on that side, of an S-curve.

So easily mistakable for an engraving from a time long past.

For every dream that burnt out..

It’s time for one more from Ananya Rubayat (dream_maze) who is being playful with light and dark…

For every dream that burnt out..

The most obvious aspect of this image is the Chiaroscura – the play of extreme lighting and subtle details in the folds of darkness. The contrast creates an interesting diptych: with a different image in each, the one playing off the other, but both also acting as negative space for the alternate. In that respect, this is an amazingly intricate image.

On the right, with the eye placed vertically at the midpoint and horizontally on the primary golden ratio, Ananya is a subtle, mysterious form, looking out at a bright world – almost as though she is looking into some other world, or it is her gaze that is lighting it up. The light is blindingly bright, so empty.

From the left, we have a double arc (thereby forming an interesting S-curve), the one outlining the realm of light, and the inner a brighter inner world. The whole is contained by the dominant expanse of dark negative space encroaching upon it, while the magic of shadows and motion plays out within its space.

A truly gorgeous piece of work; spellbinding.

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