The power of color in photography isn’t always in the display of the most vibrant hues, or filling the frame with the most eye-catching color combinations. It’s also evident in the simplicity of minimalist techniques and approaches. German photographer Florian Wenzel demonstrates how this works with a short series curiously titled Farbfleck.
In this set that is part conceptual and largely landscape-driven, Florian was inspired by an idea encapsulated in a quote by a German musician. “I’m a spot of color in a black and white world.” His train of thought later moves into the melancholic imagery often best depicted in black and white. “You just lay in your bed for hours, sad, and you don’t know why. It’s like the colors disappear and you turn black and white like the world around you.”
“In a black and white world a spot of color looks lost but when you think about it…”
But, he stops himself there and ponders, “Isn’t it the spot of color which makes the world seem more colorful? It gives it color, warmth and hope. These thoughts help me when I’m in situations like this and I wanted to visualize this in form of a series.”
Florian in turn encapsulated this idea and motivation into Farbfleck, which is an apt title given that it’s the German word for “paint spot” or “stain.” The resulting concept, and execution, is simple but thought-provoking. For his monochromatic canvas, he chose the beautiful and moody landscapes of Iceland. Somewhere around this canvas, he puts a dab of color through a subject in a bright yellow jacket.
This, of course, is super effective. He couldn’t have picked a better location given that Iceland is a favorite when it comes to atmospheric landscapes. And we can say that the yellow coat is like a ray of sunshine that pierces through the gloom that surrounds it.