Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Michael Kenna - Black & White vs Color Photography

Why Black & White?

Having my studio at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia for the past 14 years has provided a unique public venue for my work. One of the questions I am frequently asked is "why black & white and not color?" As most people know, I only work in black & white and have never been interested in working in color ... but why?       

 In a recent article published Black & White Magazine, British landscape photographer, Michael Kenna, known for his exquisite black & white images, was posed the question, "why black & white and not color?" For those not familiar with his work, Kenna works exclusively in black & white and makes his prints in the traditional wet darkroom. In an age when digital imaging allows for prints in enormous sizes, Kenna prints in only one size, roughly 8" x 8" ... and they are spectacular! His work is shown in museums and galleries around the world.

For me personally, his response as to why he works in monochrome vs color sums it up perfectly...

"Kenna’s old school outlook extends to his fidelity to black and white. Despite four decades of shooting in monochrome, he has no desire to experiment with color. Black and white, for him, provides an immediate interpretation of the world rather than a literal copy of what we see, where everything is in color. He finds black-and-white photographs to be quieter, subtler and more mysterious than those made in color, and thus more inspiring to the imagination of the individual viewer. Paradoxically, because they don’t attempt to compete with the outside world, black-and-white images persists longer in our visual memory. "

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Thought for the Day

There are two types of photographers ...
Photographers that photograph "Things"
and photographers that photograph "Ideas."

Which one are you?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What It's All About!

I have always wanted to share my experiences through photographs. Photographers can work a lifetime and never really know to what extent viewers connect with their personal vision.

Take a minute and read this email I recently received from Kara, a visitor to my studio in The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia ... I'm sincerely touched.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Video of Craig Sterling - "Photographing the Familiar in an Unfamiliar Way"

After seeing my photographs, many individuals exclaim, "I've seen that before, but never quite like that." What better way is there to describe the imagery that I have created of noted landmarks here in Washington, D.C. and around the world?

This short video by talented filmmaker and photographer Dean Pagani, explores my creative approach for making meaningful images of places that we are all so familiar. Enjoy!

My studio and gallery is located in The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Art Survey

Jay Leno, Bill Mahr and CNN have all at one time or another conducted surveys out in the street of typical Americans. They ask to name the Secretary of State, Vice President or the Governor of their home state. Much to my amazement, the vast majority of people surveyed don't have a clue ... AMAZING!

As most of the visitors to my Blog are aware, I have been a resident artist at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia since 2001. We are a 76,000 square foot art center on the Potomac River right across from Washington, D.C. We are the major draw to historic Old Town Alexandria. We attract nearly 500,000 visitors from all over the U.S. and throughout the world.  I suppose it is safe to say that we are THE premiere art center in the U.S. and maybe worldwide.

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a little survey on my own. On a typical week I probably attract 100-150 individuals. I have been asking if they could name 5 famous photographers and or 5 famous artists ... sculptors, painters, etc. Out of nearly 100 very informal surveys, the predominate answer for "famous photographers" was Ansel Adams. Maybe 10% of the people knew specific photos, but not the name of the photographer. Maybe 50% knew of Annie Leibovitz. Names like Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, SebastiĆ£o Salgado, Keith Carter or Michael Kenna drew blanks. In fact, many visitors to my studio carry expensive cameras and claim to be photographers!

When it came to naming "famous artists," the overwhelming majority answered, Picasso, Van Gogh, DaVinci, Renoir, Rubens and Rembrandt. Most never heard of Willem de Kooning, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn or Jackson Pollack or Damien Hirst for that matter.

What does this say about the public's knowledge of art? Do we only care about the Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Duck Dynasty ... I guess so!   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Interesting Exhibition In Old Town Alexandria

2 of my images ( Pinhole & Holga images) are included in an exhibition ... Process: Photography at The Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia ... right up the street from my studio at The Torpedo Factory Art Center. It's a really cool show curated by their President, Twig Murray. If you interested in photographic process, definitely check it out.