Daniel Zvereff: On Black and White Documentary Photography

This is a syndicated blog post from La Noir Image. It’s a preview of the type of content you’ll be able to get if we receive our Kickstarter funding.

All images by Daniel Zvereff. Used with permission.

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Be sure to support our Kickstarter! We’re in the middle and could really use more funding! If you like stories like this, you’ll be able to get all this and more with La Noir Image the magazine

You’re a photographer that often shoots in color; and very vivid colors! So what creative choices typically make you shoot in black and white instead?

I’m not quite sure if there is a straightforward decision in my mind when working on a project that steers me towards color or black and white. I think its more of a feeling, something I can’t quite explain.

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Soviet Swing: An Essay by Daniel Zvereff

Photo Essays is a series on the Phoblographer where photographers get to candidly speak their mind about a specific subject or project of theirs. Want to submit? Send them to editors@thephoblographer.com.

All images and text by Daniel Zvereff. Be sure to also follow him on Facebook and Instagrm. This post was originally published here.

Suspended over the impossibly steep slopes and down into the valley of Chiatura, countless steel cables twist across the sky like a web of indiscernible dimension. A gruff man, red faced and smoking a cigarette, ushers me into a steel box hanging from the cables, then closes the door and locks it from outside. Within the cable car there are no chairs, just rudimentary holes cut into the steel plate, their edges rusting beneath a thin veneer of blue spray paint. I poke my head out in time to see the man approaching a box on the wall nearby, he presses something within and rings a bell notifying an operator above that a passenger is ready to ascend. Immediately, the cable car lurches into motion and I am lifted, swinging slowly up into the sky.

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Daniel Zvereff: On Black and White Documentary Photography

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All images by Daniel Zvereff. Used with permission.

Website

Instagram

Be sure to support our Kickstarter! We’re in the middle and could really use more funding! If you like stories like this, you’ll be able to get all this and more with La Noir Image the magazine

You’re a photographer that often shoots in color; and very vivid colors! So what creative choices typically make you shoot in black and white instead? 

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 I’m not quite sure if there is a straightforward decision in my mind when working on a project that steers me towards color or black and white. I think its more of a feeling, something I can’t quite explain.

Shooting color and the whole thought process of composition is much different than black and white. So when you go about composing and creating images for black and white, what thought processes are you typically adhering to and what are something that you’re always being conscious of? 

I grew up shooting exclusively in black and white my entire life up until the last few years. When I am shooting color, I am definitely still thinking in terms of black and white, I haven’t changed my thought process at all. I think I produce a better image when negating color from my mindset, I find it distracts me.

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What do you feel black and white does for a photo that color can’t do and do you feel that black and white is still very important to photography? Why? 

I don’t think there is something that color photography can’t do or vice versa. I think it all boils down to a process and idea– thats one of the joys of photography, choosing a medium that best fits ones concept. In the end, whatever it is you are trying to accomplish with your work, there are endless possibilities. 

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What’s your approach when it comes to photographing people for a project? How do you converse with them? 

Every approach is different, mostly, I find its about being open and having a little courage to break out of the comfort bubble of keeping to yourself. A lot of people are really open to being photographed and having a conversation.
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Talk to us about the gear you use and your favorite black and white film? 

I loved tri-x, still do, its not as good as it was in the early 2000s, but still great. I use Leica equipment for digital and 35mm formats. I also have a wonderful Rolleiflex 2.8F and a Mamiya 6 for 120mm format.

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Daniel Zvereff’s Valley of the Moon Looks to Humanize the Middle East

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All images by Daniel Zvereff. Used with permission.

Photographer Daniel Zvereff is always doing crazy cool documentary photo projects, but his recent travels to Jordan try to show more of the normalcy of the Middle East. “I think living in America we tend to have an altered view of life in Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries. A lot of news reports and films focus on one aspect of society in these countries that portray a violent vision of daily life.” states Daniel. “While there are absolutely terrible things happening to good people in these volatile regions there is also a lot of normalcy that goes on–People have their daily routines, worry about cell phone reception, and so on.” With Jordan, Daniel wanted to focus on a positive image of a country that while being surrounded by places with a tainted reputation has really managed to stay safe and in control.

Daniel told us that in order to blend in and get along better with the locals, he brought his skateboard. “It’s the ultimate tool to traveling the world and seeing every city/country from an insiders perspective, and just in general meeting a lot of great people.”

Daniel’s “The Valley of the Moon” is after the jump. Be sure to also check out Daniel’s Introspective and Faroe projects.

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Daniel Zvereff: Being a Documentary Landscape Photographer

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All images by Daniel Zvereff. Used with permission.

Photographer Daniel Zvereff was featured last year on the Phoblographer for his Introspective project. During that time Mr. Zvereff was on a tour of self-discovery that we’re sure many photographers and artists take. Interestingly, the project used Kodak Aerochrome to turn greens in his images into purples. Since then, Daniel has completed a number of other personal projects: with one of our favorites being his journey to the island of Faroe. Faroe is an island where there are quite literally more sheep than people.

Beginning a documentary project like this takes planning and lots of thought. So we chatted with Dan about what it’s like to be a documentary photographer and the Faroe project.

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If You Buy This Canon 50mm f0.95 on eBay, Know That It’s Stolen

Photographer Daniel Zvereff’s lens was stolen and is now being sold on eBay.

A few weeks ago, photographer Daniel Zvereff told me a story about how his Canon 50mm f0.95 lens got stolen while on a trip in Mexico–and today the lens has appeared on eBay for sale. Daniel, who has been featured here on the site many times, has done some fantastic Kodak Aerochrome work, and is currently in our zine, spotted the lens just today and reached out to tell us about it. It was stolen unfortunately when thieves snuck into where he was staying and snatched the lens up.

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Lomography Announces a Brand New Formula for LomoChrome Purple 400

It’s been a few years since Lomography announced LomoChrome Purple, and just today they’ve announced a new update to the film. The new Lomochrome Purple 400 film is designed to be a whole lot more stable. With that said, we start out with a recommended and set exposure at ISO 400 vs the previous version of the film which was said to need a lot of light. To that end, it wasn’t uncommon that photographers shot it at ISO 200 or even 100. The new Lomochrome Purple will continue to shift blues to greens, greens to purples and yellows to pinks. The new emulsion increases the film’s sensitivity to red hues.

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William Kerr’s Beautiful Kodak Tri-X Food Photography

All images and words by William Kerr. Used with permission.

We’ve received well over 1,000 submissions for our analog photography zine; and while you all know that the best of the best (no more than 20) photographers are getting into the zine there are a number of photographers that still have very good work surely worthy of being profiled on our website. One of those photographers is William Kerr–who loves food photography and Kodak Tri-X in the 6×7 format. Crazy, right? You’d typically see food in color, but William does it in shades of light, blacks, whites, and shadows.

I genuinely think that you’re about to fall in love with his submission.

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Less Than 48 Hours are Left in Our Analog Zine Kickstarter! Go Donate!

Hi everyone,

As you most likely know, our Analog Zine Kickstarter was fully funded. Again, a genuine thank you to everyone who donated. But I’d like to summon everyone’s attention who was interested in donating to the project but didn’t because it was too early on. With less than 48 hours left in the campaign, at this point you’re basically just buying a zine with the option of a year long basic subscription to La Noir Image; our premium black and white photography website.

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New Petition Asks Kodak to Revive Kodak Infrared Ektachrome Film

Lead Photo by Steve Harwood. Used with Creative Commons Permission

A new online petition on Change.org is appealing to Kodak to bring back yet another film emulsion: Kodak Infrared Ektachrome. This film is not to be confused with Kodak Aerochrome–which we’ve featured very prominently on this website. Kodak discontinued the film along with a lot of their infrared films due to people just not buying it–as is the case with lots of films being discontinued. However, with a new generation of photographers starting out in digital and then picking up film afterwards coming to the fore, Infrared film may have a new home soon.

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Four Modern Analog Film Photographers With Inspiring Work

Analog photography is back and here to stay. Though that isn’t to discredit what digital photography is all about, there’s a special Je Ne Sais Quoi about analog photography that involves the process and the more personal nature involved with being in the zone and the moment at all times. To get even more photographers excited about analog, we’re putting together a special zine later on this year which we’re trying to Kickstart. You can support it here and check out the work of four of the photographers who will be showcased.

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Kodak Aerocolor IV Film is a Great Way to Burn Over $1,500

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No, the film above isn’t Kodak Aerochrome or Lomochrome Purple–instead, it’s something much different though we’ve understand why experienced shooters might believe it to be otherwise.. The image above is from Kodak Aerocolor IV negative film 2460 and it costs you quite a pretty penny depending on the configuration you get of it: we’re talking well over $1,500.

Aerocolor IV is an ISO 125 color aerial film that is designed for aerial photography; and that’s just what the Canadian government has used it for. For years though, Aerochrome III infrared (not Aerochrome III color) was designed to deliver similar looking results with turning greens into pinks/purples as you see above. However, Aerocolor IV is a color aerial film, not an infrared.

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Chuck Miller’s Aerochrome Photos Make the World Look Alien

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All images by Chuck Miller. Used with permission.

Chuck Miller is a writer and photographer from Albany, N.Y. that’s been experimenting with film and digital photography for a long time. Some of his award-winning pictures involve cramming two rolls of 35mm film into a medium-format camera and exposing them simultaneously; modifying a camera to recreate the old horse racing “photo finish” exposures; and trying to resurrect Kodachrome color film by shooting pictures with color filters and composing the images from black-and-white sections.

However, he’s also very well versed in the use of Kodak Aerochrome–an infrared film first developed for military recon that essentially took greens in a scene and turned them purple. Other photographers likes Daniel Zvereff have done a great job with the film. Indeed, it was beautiful for artistic reasons until its discontinuation. But Chuck shot some incredible photos with the film, and we had the chance to talk to him about the experience.

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This is Why Your Photography Website Sucks

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An inherent problem happens when you’re an editor of a photography website tasked with reviewing the images of many people. Photographers from all walks of life tend to want to make us look at their images–and we are incredibly grateful for that. But at the same time, we find many websites to be seemingly made during the Geocities days only to give way to your Myspace. Website design and navigation has progressed further than this, and the problem is that many photographers don’t understand it.

Here’s the key: make your website simple to use and navigate and folks will want to go through it all.

Don’t be lazy. You’re better than that.

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Introspective: A Photo Project Shot on Kodak Aerochrome About Self Discovery

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All images by Dan Zvereff. Used with permission

We first read about Dan Zvereff on Japan Camera Hunter, we were captivated by his images and his use of Kodak Aerochrome. The famous infrared film was designed for military applications and what it did was turn all greens into a shade of purple. But that’s just the short explanation, and we’ve got a more detailed and in depth analysis here.

Aerochrome was at the heart of Dan’s project called Introspective, where he travelled around the world for three months on a quest of self-discovery. Along the way he shot various landscapes and scenes in the Arctic, Europe, and Africa.

We talked to Dan a bit about the project and his incredible images.

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