Faraz Azhar’s Black and White Urban Geometry is a Solitary Study of Shapes

All images and text by Faraz Azhar. Used with permission.

My name is Faraz Azhar, I’m a travel photographer based in Dubai, UAE. Although I have a fulltime job as a banker, photography is my passion. I cherish black and white photography mostly for architectural photos. I believe that an architect spends endless hours imagining a structure that he is about to build, he draws countless shapes on paper before finalizing his design and he takes care of every little measurement and detail of that building; whether it’s a cornerstone or a pillar or any piece of metal or concrete. Capturing these fine details is an art. Taking photos of architecture in color makes it overwhelming and makes the viewer lose focus of what’s important in the scene…the fine architectural detail.

Black and white photography ignores the color element, and focuses on blacks, whites and all the mid-tones in between. When the photographer captures the photo and processes it in black and white, it allows the viewer to see the two dimensional photo in three dimensions. By using dodging and burning an artist can add depth in the photo, separate the foreground and background elements, and bring out all those fine detail that the architect had imagined when he drew it on his piece of paper.

I entered the photography world in 2011, and my inspiration to become a photographer was, well, the beautiful scenic wallpapers on my computer desktop. I always wondered how people take these photos, where they go to find such great places. This led me to pursue photography and eventually travel the world. I started traveling for photography in 2013, so till today I’ve already been to 31 countries with many more to come. My passion is to capture the natural landscapes in the beautiful golden and blue hours, and the urban city in black and white.

Black and white was how photography began in the past, with Ansel Adams making the best use of it. And black and white photography will always have a strong presence in the future, especially for architectural photos, because as we step into the future, we see more and more modern and impossible shaped buildings. Capturing the beauty of those buildings in black and white is an art that photographers need to pursue. As for portraits, black and white for portrait photography is also famous and for the same reason: it brings out all the detail on face, the beautiful eyes, and strokes of hair. For me, I’m going to stick to architectural photography for now. Black and white photography shows the vision of the architect and the photographer, it excludes the extra detail from the image and presents the architecture in a unique way, bringing the viewer closer to the detail that the artist wishes to capture.

I use my Canon 6D camera for travel and architectural photography. The full frame sensor allows me to capture great detail and the excellent ISO captures a clean sharp image. My artillery of lenses include 24-70mm F2.8 II, 16-35mm F4, 50mm F1.4, and 70-200mm F2.8 II. This variety of lenses include zoom to telephoto to wide angle; which helps me capture my black and white architectural shots in the angles that I want. I also capture black and white photos in long exposures during the day time, which creates beautiful imagery in that the building stands still with moving clouds and people around it. For this I use the Big Lee Stopper kit with 10 stops UV filter. My tripod is Feisol Tournament CT-3442, with SIRUI K-40X ball head.

For more, be sure to check out Faraz’s Facebook and Instagram pages.