Nathan Wirth Ponders His Decade-Long Visual Study of Drakes Beach

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Whether by choice or circumstance, we don’t always get to go back to the beautiful places we photograph. Some just tick the destination off their bucket list and take home photos as keepsakes of the experience. Others wait for the next opportunity for another visit. However, there are also photographers who find themselves drawn to the same place over and over, compelled to document their return with more photographs as each visit can sometimes look or feel different. It seems this was the case for Nathan Wirth, who found himself photographing the particular rock formations at Drakes Beach in Northern California for over a decade.

Continue reading…

Nathan Wirth Explores Negative Space Through the Concept of “Ma”

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Negative space can be a powerful tool for visual storytelling just as the focus on form or a subject. It works just as well as patterns and leading lines in drawing our eyes around the frame. Nathan Wirth makes an interesting approach to demonstrate this through his superb black and white series, guided by the Japanese minimalism of the spatial concept of ma.

Continue reading…

Nathan Wirth Captures the Ethereal Beauty of Streams Leading to the Sea

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with Creative Commons permission.

When it comes to adding a dose of drama and depth to an image, black and white will never go out of style. It even works for shooting sweeping vistas, as our growing list of impressive monochrome landscape easily shows. Novato, CA Nathan Wirth has been one of our go-to photographers for this, as our previous features of his work will prove. Today, we take a look at one of his most recent works in which he captured the simple but dreamy beauty of streams flowing back into the sea.

Continue reading…

Nathan Wirth Used an Infrared Sony a7r to Get These Spooky Redwood Photos

Among Giants is the latest series by surreal landscape photographer Nathan Wirth.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many horror movies, but if you look at Nathan Wirth’s latest series Among Giants just the right way it can appeal super spooky. The series is a number of infrared photos shot of some of the giant redwood trees here in the US. The addition of the infrared nature to the images makes them look eerie, ethereal and at the same time gives off a haunting beauty to them. We got to ask Nathan a bit about the new series.

Continue reading…

Nathan Wirth’s Black and White Imaginations

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with permission.

Photographer Nathan Wirth has been featured before on our site, and in his Imaginations series he holds himself true to the claim that he only works in the worst weather possible. This project is a much more whimsical one that still uses the black and white format to tell a story. Nathan tells us that he chose black and white as an homage to classic cinema–since growing up the only television that was in his house was a black and white one.

Imaginations first got started when Nathan looked at an image that he was working on for a self-portrait long exposure series. He photoshopped Darth Vader into the scene, loved it and continued to do this with other characters.

Continue reading…

Slices of Silence: Quiet Black and White Infrared Landscapes

SONY DSC

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with permission.

“I also don’t work on photography unless the weather is shitty.” says photographer Nathan Wirth, who was born and raised in San Francisco. He is a self-learned photographer that uses a variety of techniques— including long exposure and infrared— to express his unending wonder of the fundamental fact of existence by attempting to focus on the silence that we can sometimes perceive in between the incessant waves of sound that often dominate our perceptions of the world. This is partially the foundation for his project: Slices of Silence.

It also has a bit to do with Nathan’s recent studies involving Japanese traditions of Zen, rock gardens, and calligraphy– as well as the transience, impermanence, and imperfections of wabi-sabi. Nathan’s studies of calligraphy and Zen writings have led him to the practice of trying to achieve, while working on his photography, a mind of no-mind (mu-shin no shin), a mind not preoccupied with emotions and thought, one that can, as freely as possible, simply create.

This project features infrared landscape shot with a Sony camera–and while we think they’re quite dark and foreboding, Nathan personally does not.

We chatted with Nathan about his work for Slices of Silence and about how he almost didn’t become a photographer.

Continue reading…

Why These Professional Photographers Still Print Their Photos

All images used with permission. Lead image by Victoria Yore.

For some photographers, printing is the ultimate way of displaying photos. It brings the image to life, manifest, makes it tangible and ends up making the photo a thing you can cherish forever. It isn’t lost amongst a giant number of other images in a gallery on your phone, but instead it’s just there. It’s a much different experience that commands someone to sit and look at the photo. That image is the one that stands out amongst the rest.

So with that said, we talked to a number of professional photographers about why they print.

Continue reading…

Why These Professional Photographers Still Print Their Photos

All images used with permission. Lead image by Victoria YoreFor some photographers, printing is the ultimate way of displaying their photos. It brings the image to life, manifest, makes it tangible and ends up just making the photo a thing that you can cherish for forever. It isn’t lost amongst a giant number of other images in a gallery on your phone, but instead it’s just there. It’s a much different experience that commands someone to sit there and look at the photo. That image is the one that stands out amongst the rest.

So with that said, we talked to a number of professional photographers about why they print.

First, while I am always grateful that the world of social media provides one a chance to share images with many, many people, the photos one shares are frequently left hovering in the ones and zeroes of the cyber-ether— until, by chance, the images are seen by a person who scrolls by with an often-distracted engagement. Second, most photographers who seriously dabble in black and white photography expend a lot of effort to find the best possible tones and contrasts for their images, and those nuances are often lost in the sharpening that most social media site uploaders force on the uploaded image. Third, there are so many monitors, so many settings for those monitors, that an image will often look very different from what the creator intended. The print allows one the opportunity to control all those variables (especially if the photographer prints his or her own work), and, for me, the print represents the final stage in a photographer’s process of bringing to light whatever he or she wishes to express. A print is tangible, a memento, an artifact, a something. Of course, the print then might never find a viewer either … and, I would imagine that most photographers share my desire to have the work seen by others…

Nathan Wirth

Why do I print?

I like to be able to touch my images, move them around, hang them on my walls. It helps when I edit projects to be able to look at forty or fifty prints on the floor and move them around, change the edit, look at things in a different way. It’s something that’s nearly impossible to do on a computer screen.

Michael Rubenstein

‘Printing images brings them to life in a way seeing them on a digital screen simply cannot. When printed and hung on a wall, an image leaps off the page and grabs an onlookers attention with ease. Unlike a computer screen, onlookers cannot easily scroll past or flip to another page. They are confronted head on with a story and it is up to them to figure out how to interpret it upon first sight. Instead of a flick of a finger to scroll on, they must make the conscious decision to view a printed image or walk away. If the art is speaks loud enough, the print will captivate an onlooker in ways a screen never could.’

Victoria Yore: One Half of Follow Me Away

“I print for nuance, detail and impact. My images really sing when they are printed large so that they are experienced, not just viewed passively. Prints give you the ability to see deeper into the details, shadows and tonalities, really giving you the ability to really explore the frame.”

Lindsay Adler

A print is something that can be held, cherished, given and received. A digital file can’t be shared in the same way. With a print I can control the final result completely, color, brightness, contrast it is all what I make it. A digital file may look perfect on my color calibrated system, but can be off a little or a lot on someone else’s screen.

Tony Gale

I print my work mostly for the same reasons I sometimes “go analog” and shoot film: it forces my often-distracted mind to pause and reflect on the image, and because it’s an intimate celebration of photography with which the digital experience can’t yet compete.

Jonathan Higbee

Karim Mansour’s Evocative Black and White Concert Photos

Karim Mansour describes himself as a part time photographer living in Oslo, Norway and shoots primarily concerts and landscapes.black-cobra

What makes black and white photography so important to you?

I’ve always been fascinated by black and white photographs. As far back as I remember, visiting my late grand mother’s house meant one thing for me: rummaging through dusty boxes full of prints from as far back as the late 1920s.

I am not sure what drew me to them, but there was something special about them. I grew up in a world of colour. So seeing colours somewhat stripped from reality made me spend more time on each print and eventually fall in love with the medium.

deafheaven

My photographic interests began many years later and the first rolls of film I bought were black and white negatives. The jump to digital followed the same path with early experimentation in black and white processing.

I became more and more focused on landscape photography. Artists such as Michael Kenna, Michael Levin, Nathan Wirth and many others became my inspirations. I began to study analog black and white processing and printing in order to improve my digital workflow. It is this, studying, which makes black and white photography so important to me. Because I study black and white images, not just look at them in a passing glance. I spend time looking at the elements, tones, structures, shades, everything and exploring the techniques, tools and concepts behind each image.

What inspires you to create photographs?

fear-factory

It is usually a feeling. This is most true when out in landscapes. I often go hiking in the woods or mountains with no intended image to be created. And I wait for that inspiration. For the light to fall a certain way or a composition to suddenly appear. Many times I return with no images at all.

My interests in subject matters tend to change and I would easily go into a hibernation period where I do not even venture out with the intent to photograph. When the urge suddenly appears again, I would pursue it relentlessly. I become focused on the subject (which in recent years has become quite specific: trees at night, stars, etc.). As of late I have been drawn to the night. I enjoy the solitude the night offers as well as the soft, almost faint, light that falls on the subject I am photographing. To me, it is a soothing feeling. Going full circle, it is a feeling of an image projected by the scene in front of me that inspires me.

Why is black and white photography so important to our future in the art world?

I am not an art historian or art critic so perhaps my answer to this might not be the one with most depth. What I do believe is that we need to take a step back, breathe and appreciate the world we live in and to me, black and white photography is the medium that gives us this breathing space. To embrace the image and give some thought into the process of creating it. From an art world perspective, I find that black and white photography is able to push boundaries more than colour. The play of light and shadow, contrasts and tones can lend them perfectly to any subject thereby making the medium relevant to art in its broadest term.

guitar-wolf

Art in itself serves multiple purposes. It tells stories, shows beauty, shock and inspire though and reflection and many more (depending on how art is defined). There is no reason to think that black and white photography cannot fill any of these or that it will seize to deliver to any form of art.

There will always be an interest in black and white photography. This interest is part nostalgia and part experimentation – both of these are legitimate reasons in my opinion.

lacuna-coil

motorpsycho

one-tail-one-head

tiger-army

yob

10 Under 10K: Fantastic Black and White Landscape Photographers on Instagram

This is a syndicated blog post from our Premium website: La Noir Image. Originally written by Alberto Lima. Subscribe for as little as $15/year to start.

For regular readers of La Noir Image, you’re already familiar with what’s becoming a regular column – our 10 under 10K Instagram feature. If you think  Instagram is just for the filter-happy shooter think again; our list includes truly amazing gems hidden among the hashtags. Though most IGers posting landscapes prefer shooting in color by a large margin, this made these Instagrammers that much easier to spot. So if you’ve been looking for a little inspiration to photograph amazing vistas in black & white this list will be sure to please.

Continue reading…

10 Under 10K: Fantastic Black and White Landscape Photographers on Instagram (Premium)

For regular readers of La Noir Image, you’re already familiar with what’s becoming a regular column – our 10 under 10K Instagram feature. If you think that Instagram is just for the filter-happy shooter think again; our list includes truly amazing gems hidden among the hashtags. Though most IGers posting landscapes prefer shooting in color by a large margin, this made these Instagrammers that much easier to spot. So if you’ve been looking for a little inspiration to photograph amazing vistas in Black & White this list will be sure to please.

Continue reading…

Letter from the Editor: Landscapes in Black and White

Lead image by Nathan Wirth. Featured later on in our coverage.

If you’re in certain climate zones, you’re most likely experiencing one of the most magical moments of the year: autumn. Go outside, get up high, and you’ll be struck with beautiful landscapes covered in various colors that the trees take on. It’s beautiful, heart warming, and of course photogenic. Color has become one of the biggest and most important aspects of modern landscape photography. But what happens when you take that color away? What happens when the image that you’re looking at suddenly becomes black and white? Does it lose its beauty? How do you adapt and take a strong image made so partially by color and make it work in the world of monochromatic?

That’s what we’re exploring this month. The world of black and white landscape photography is vast, hypnotic, and incredible. It’s what Ansel Adams and many other photographers had to work with. Of course, photography has evolved quite a bit since the days of the zone system’s inception. But there is no doubt that landscapes can still captivate audiences everywhere. Since the earliest days of photography, the tools have changed too.

We’ve prepared a large amount of content that is bound to make your jaw drop this month. So please, enjoy!

  • Sincerely,

Chris Gampat

Editor in Chief/Publisher.

10 Inspiring Landscape Photographers With Incredible Photos

All images used with the permission of the photographers in our interviews.

Landscape photography is pretty tough to get right–but some Landscape Photographers tend to stand out more amongst the rest. In our almost eight years of doing this site, we’ve come across the work of many incredible Landscape Photographers.

The artists after the jump will inspire you to no end.

Continue reading…

How Crappy Weather Can Make For the Best Photography

If you’re a photographer that has ever shot during the Blue Hour, then you’ll understand how the lack of sun but still having little light can really help you to create potentially beautiful photos. There are loads of photographers who purposely don’t shoot during sunny days or the Golden Hour. Some photographers bill it as the softbox effect while others just like to go out and shoot. It works for photographers like Nathan Wirth and many more.

So if you’re feeling down about the weather, then here are reasons why it should motivate you to get out there and shoot.

Continue reading…

Are You Actually Into Photography? An Argument Against Pixel Peeping

Hey folks, don’t forget about funding our Kickstarter It’s almost over and we need lots of help!

“I really like photography” is a statement that you probably hear from a lot of people. Depending on who the person is, what that statement means can vary greatly. It can be about “photography” which means literally just taking “pics” of stuff; which isn’t really what we’re talking about here. It can also be about looking at images as a whole and having a genuine appreciation for the moment or what the little slice of life actually represents.

Then there are the people who like to pixel peep every image that they see.

Continue reading…

10 Black and White Instagram Photographers Under 10K Followers You Should Check Out Now

This is a syndicated blog post from La Noir Image. Don’t forget about our Kickstarter!

Those of us who embrace the purist mentality that monochromatic images lend themselves to often end up applying it to all of our work. Indeed, black and white simplifies a scene and makes the human mind pay attention to nothing else but the shapes in a scene. Sometimes it’s tough to embrace; but with a little bit of inspiration, you’ll want to get out there and document the world in nothing else but black, white and all the shades in between.

To get you inspired, here are 10 photographers mostly shooting black and white with followings of under 10k to check out.

Also be sure to follow La Noir Image on Instagram. 

Continue reading…

10 Black and White Instagram Photographers Under 10K Followers You Should Check Out Now

image

Those of us who embrace the purist mentality that monochromatic images lend themselves to often end up applying it to all of our work. Indeed, black and white simplifies a scene and makes the human mind pay attention to nothing else but the shapes in a scene. Sometimes it’s tough to embrace; but with a little bit of inspiration, you’ll want to get out there and document the world in nothing else but black, white and all the shades in between. 

To get you inspired, here are 10 photographers mostly shooting black and white with followings of under 10k to check out.

Also be sure to follow La Noir Image on Instagram. 

PS: Don’t forget about our Kickstarter!

AAA.ABBI

image

The scenes that @AAA.ABBI creates will remind you of cinematic stills from old movies like Laurence of Arabia. 

Bursa.bw.hayrettincakmak

image

@Bursa.bw.hayrettincakmak is 23 years old and hails from Turkey. Some of the scenes this user captures will make you think again about how to use depth of field.

Blackncolored

image

@Blackncolored used shadows, shapes and negative space in such a thought provoking way that it bound to give you some new ideas.

Monochromeguy

image

An extremely selective account, the @monochromeguy will show you New York in a different way.

Coleebri

image

Perhaps one of our new favorite accounts to follow, @coleebri creates blends of images and renders them in monochrome.

Black_and_white_ldn

image

User @black_and_white_ldn will show you London in a whole new way.

Steeldavid909

image

@Steeldavid909 will show you portraits and people in an uber sharp rendition.

Onrkorkmaz

image

@Onrkorkmez will show you images that look delightfully lofi.

Lucidal

image

@Lucidal finds ways to play with contrast and shapes to create compelling back and white photographs.

Nathan Wirth 

image

@Nlwirth features loads of really amazing long exposure black and white photography. He tells the Phoblographer that he only goes to to photograph “When the weather is shitty.”