Nick Nemphos: The Beauty of Portraiture in Kodak Tri-X

All images by Nick Nemphos. Used with permission. Also be sure to follow Nick on Instagram.

– What makes black and white photography so important to you?

I think the simplicity and depth of a well executed black and white image will always capture my interest. As someone who is primarily a portrait photographer I am always trying to push further and further into authenticity while still allowing for some areas open to interpretation and imagination. Black and white photography as a medium allows some of the distractions of color to fall away and lets the image be about the subject.

It also captures the subject in a timeless way that invokes the imagination. I love it when I take and image and if you didn’t know any better it could have been taken yesterday or 40 years ago.

– What inspires you to create photographs

Connection. Connection and depression.

I almost exclusively photography people and what inspires me the most is when the subject and I are finding a real connection. I strive to be as open and honest while I am behind the camera and allow myself to be in a vulnerable space which in the best circumstances allows my subject to open up and be vulnerable and authentic in front of the camera. I’m not sure anything inspires me more than when everything clicks into place with myself, the subject, and the equipment to capture a real moment or emotion.

Most of my work starts from a place of stillness and sadness and while I suppose that may not seem inspiring it motivates me to create and to find that connection when so much of the time I feel closed off to the world.

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

As cliche as it sounds black and white photography is the essence of photography. I believe that black and white photography begins and ends with the subject whether it be a person, documenting a moment, a building or any other number of areas the photographer could choose to focus on.

For instance, when a documentary photographer really wants to drive home the meaning and emotion of the scene they’re capturing black and white filters out all the extra sensory inputs. If you were photographing a protest that occurring at sunset and you want the audience to be focused on the message of the protesters and faces of the people and not the vibrant colors of the sunset, black and white gives that freedom.

Black and white photography has always been and always will be important to the art of photography. It strangely lets people see things as they are and also ignites the imagination and allows us to dream.

– Tell us about your images and why you love Kodak Tri-X

My work is primarily portrait in nature with a slight touch of fashion elements. I like to use fashion not so much for fashion’s sake, but as an extension of who the subject is.

When it comes down to it there just isn’t a black and white film I love more than Tri-X. I love its grain structure, flexibility, and tonality. I love the way it looks shot at 400 or 1600 and it looks amazing in 35mm, 120, or large format. I may flirt with Tmax every now and again, but Tri-X is the film that has my heart when it comes to black and white.

Khunya Pan: Freezing Moments in Time on Kodak Tri-X

All images and words by Khunya Pan. Used with permission.

These photos are the result of me taking my camera anywhere and everywhere for the past 7 years. Some are street photography, some are intimate moments with my wife; the one with the rifle was technically a shoot. However, I like to get as candid of photos as possible: the one of my father looking into his lightbox creation, the grackles, the horse, the women looking over the fence.

Tri-X has always been my go-to film and it is a classic for a reason. It’s extremely forgiving in exposure latitude and perfect for your everyday shooting. It pushes to 1600 ISO very well, and if you put an ND filter on your lens and you can get some great shallow depth of field photographs in bright daylight—but with that classic Tri-X grain structure.

What makes black and white photography so important to you?

The tonality and texture are what always brings me back. The look and feel that all the different emulsions have to offer, combined with developing techniques and the wealth of selection of film cameras & lenses means you’re always guaranteed to come up with something creative.

What inspires you to create photographs?

I run a weekly mailing list called “Khunya’s Photo a Week”, this keeps me motivated to continually practice and hone my skills. I have also started to amass a collection of photo books from famous (and non-famous) photographers to bring inspiration. I highly recommend purchasing a few photo books instead of gear. The camera will never make you a better photographer, but inspiration always will.

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

It is the purest and most intimate form of photography. When a photograph is captured on film, you are freezing a moment in time that would otherwise only live in your memory. The science behind it still gets me excited to this day and I could go on about it for weeks. Photography is the only way to truly capture the human condition and beyond—it is the most accurate form of real life expression and it is a beautiful thing.

You can view my website here, along with my Instagram and Flickr.

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8 Little Known Documentary Photographers Killing it on Instagram Right Now

This post came about in a search to find B&W photography by photographers with less than 10K followers on Instagram. Rather than critique each photographer’s entire feed of images, I’ve selected an image from each of these photographers whose work I admire, and tried to break down why it stands out to me. This was a huge learning experience for me, finding words to describe what I see when I look at an image, and what exactly I love about it. If you have never tried this, I suggest you do it and see what you come up with.

1. @tlr_lifesquared

 

LIFE SQUARED – “at peace…with love” © 2016 Peter DaSilva.

A post shared by Peter DaSilva | (@tlr_lifesquared) on

Peter DaSilva is an expert film shooter; his arsenal of medium format knowledge and body of work is rare to come across. I’m an admitted sucker for candid and quiet shots of young lovers. Sometimes when I visually dissect a monochrome image, I can’t help but wonder what it would look like in color. Color tends to add a warmth to skin that makes an image appear so intimate, almost like you can see and feel the heat radiating off the subject. But I looked at this image for a few moments and color didn’t even enter my mind; I could feel the heat in the air just by seeing the glisten of highlights on the couple’s faces. It makes me feel like it’s a hot August night, the concrete steps are slightly cooler than the hot air grates on the sidewalk, but none of this matters to the couple. They didn’t lay down thinking they would be symmetrically placed below a door of vertical lines leading down to steps of horizontal ones, but sometimes these things just work out in a photographers favor.

The fact that DaSilva also shoots with a 6×6 Rolliflex, means if the couple woke up, he would have looked like a creep bent down to compose and expose this image under a single building light illuminating their bed of steps. It’s such an intimate and vulnerable moment, with the man’s hand holding onto the woman’s arm, as the way they would likely lay in a soft bed. It makes you wonder where they came from, where they are going, how they ended up on the steps of an unknown building. A photo that gives away nothing specific yet leaves you creating stories in your head is a mark of a truly great image. Also, that film detail and grain in the shadows! It has everything: composition, perfect tonal range, intimacy.

2. @clay_benskin

A post shared by Clay Benskin (@clay_benskin) on

Many of the images on Clay Benskin’s feed have this same intriguing and calculated visual tension – with balanced leading lines that sort of lead in every direction. Throughout his feed, he’s collected moments of people blowing in the wind with hair or snow flying in New York City. This image, like quite a few of his, are street captures with eyes on billboards facing opposing direction as the subject’s view, yet somehow ironically mirroring one another.

Pro Tip: Shooting street photography in the city often requires wandering around, finding streets or corners that have some sort of geometrical shapes already, whether via light or patterns in the city elements and waiting for the right subject to enter your frame. You might shoot 2 frames and move on, or post up and wait for however long it takes to find the shot where the movement of the streets lines up with the stillness of the buildings and concrete.

With Benskin’s image above, it has this sort of “decisive moment” effect; the man and woman’s cigarettes are held in identical delay between drags, their feet mirror this moment, lifted an inch from the concrete. I don’t have this feeling of really wanting to know where they are going, and their relationship to one another appears ambiguous, but I don’t even care in this case. The intense darkness the man’s coat holds on the left of the frame creates this illuminating light on his face, on to her, then leads your eyes to the brightness of the billboard ad. The giant hand in the background holds an eye open, with the eye looking directedly at you, the same size and in line with the couple’s heads. It has this geometrical zig zag about it that holds my attention where the emotion is left out.

3. @hugoribes

A post shared by Hugo Ribes (@hugoribes) on

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Hugo Ribes is a french photographer, and I can’t tell much else about him since I can’t read French on his bio. This image starts out not very telling upon a quick stroll through his feed, but by looking a bit closer, it has this great depth of field and layers of a story that stand out from a typical “I shot some kids when they weren’t looking at me” sort of street candid. Nearly half the frame is filled with just the back’s of 3 boys heads, looking down towards kids playing ball. The kids in the distance blend in with the tiled wall figures so well, you almost don’t notice them.

Pro tip: It sometimes helps a semi-dull scene when doing street photography, to add an additional layer that draws the eyes in. Even though you don’t see the kids faces or expressions, they help add an extra element to the story. In this case, stepping back and including more of the surroundings.

4. dee_bx

A post shared by Clay Benskin (@clay_benskin) on

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David ‘Dee” Delgado is a photojournalist and instructor at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City. He is a part of a pretty epic group of photographers representing the Bronx and manages to be on the scene of late night fires in the Bronx with his camera before it even reaches the news. He also frequents protests with his film cameras, often times choosing to shoot for himself rather than on assignment, so he can focus on what he wants to shoot, like this image. A boy on a bus watching protestors in the South Bronx during riots following the death of Eric Gardner. You can’t see what the boy is seeing, but the caption offers you the opportunity to imagine what he must be seeing. Aside from the beautiful rain trickles created by the terrible fluorescent bus lighting, his expression shines through the glass.

Pro Tip: During events such as a protest or action on the street, try turning your back to the chaos and shooting what’s on the other side. You are guaranteed to get a view most of the other cameras did not capture.

5. @shayanhathaway

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Shayan Hathaway has a large body of portrait work, with both color and B&W of celebrities, musicians, and friends. I particularly like this one, because before even clicking on the image, I could tell it was of Questlove. Even if you didn’t already know the musician, it’s a unique take on what could have been a very predictable portrait. It’s likely this was one of those quick shoots the way portrait sittings of musicians tend to be, but rather than him looking directly at the camera, he’s caught gazing almost reluctantly to the hand grooming his hair. His dark hair is also perfectly highlighted against a black background, with a very subtle separation that frames his face well.

Pro Tip: If you are doing a studio lit portrait of a subject, keep shooting throughout the getting ready in between moments. You might capture not only an unposed expression but the mystery of elements outside the frame that tell a wider story or at least make you imagine one.

6. @rollie6x6

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Without the caption, I still love this image. But with, it adds so much depth to the story. I do believe a photo should be strong enough to stand on its own, but often times in a documentary series such as this one, Migrantes Project (1996-2006) the text provides a background to the subject that you can’t help but feel an emotion towards, without even seeing a face. I like that the photographer chose not to include the man’s face or body, but instead captured the object that was the answer to his question, which answers it perfectly.

7. @ebruyildez

A post shared by Ebru Yildiz 📷 (@ebruyildiz) on

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Ebru Yildez is a portrait and music photographer. She shoots with film and digital, but no matter what the medium, her greatest distinction is how she can consistently create powerful and moody profiles by facing her subjects in unconventional ways to the light source, letting subjects become a part of the background, yet still maintain a very commanding presence. Her placement is always very unexpected, in ways that I would have never envisioned, but she somehow makes them work. She also says she “makes” photos rather than the verb “take” which makes me think she lays these leading lines out in her head before even bringing out the camera. She also almost always prefers B&W, even in scenes I would have imagined could only be executed in color; often times lit by only one light source.

Pro Tip: When planning a portrait shoot, map out ideas in your head beforehand and set the lights up. Then flip your ideas all around and place your subjects in a way you think would never work. You might surprise yourself with something totally unexpected and new. At least I’m going to try to do this now because we can never stop learning and creativing new ways to see.

8. @donnaferrato

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It might not be fair to include Donna Ferrato in this list, but she has less than 10K followers so if you don’t know who she is, you should go find out right now. Ferrato is a veteran photojournalist who has been using B&W photography for decades to tell in-depth stories. This image, from a domestic violence story, makes you feel like you are viewing the mother’s soul on such an intimate level, that she is no longer a stranger. Ferrato’s purpose is not in creating artistically beautiful photographs, but in revealing social issues we so often only hear about but never see. No flashes, no posing her subjects. This image shot on digital or in color would degrade its message; just the grainy and raw authenticity of monochrome photography and a developed personal relationship with who she photographs.

Bryce Julien: I Will Continue to Shoot Black and White Film til the Day I Die

All images by Bryce Julien. Used with permission.

I began analog photography very shortly after I took interest in photography as a hobby. It was a really beneficial way to learn the fundamentals, and depend on my knowledge rather than the “digital safety net.” Most of my images were personal snapshots of family and loved ones, it wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that I developed a greater interest in street photography.

After shooting primarily color film for three years, I began to find myself shooting less and less as I was so concerned with composing based on color. Despite my love for Kodak Ektar and Fuji Provia, I found that the colors could be limiting and hindering to my images at times. I have been shooting primarily B&W for almost two years now and it allows me focus more on the emotion and atmosphere of an image. I personally love rich blacks and bright whites, even if there is a loss of detail. I find that B&W allows me to play more with the abstract and formal elements of the photographic medium. Alongside all this is my interest in the analog process. I enjoy the time spent developing my film, as well as recently learning the analog enlargement printing process. All of these steps one might find cumbersome are steps I feel I have more control over and can add my personal style to.

I feel particularly inspired by my peers, we are always helping each other develop ideas and get them going. My style tends to lean towards that of documentary photography, so I personally find a lot of inspiration in everyday activities. I am currently working on a project documenting my hometown in the year of 2017, as it is a small town that is undergoing quite a large expansion. I would be lying if I didn’t mention all of the influence I have from historically significant photographers like, Diane Arbus, Bresson, Brassai, Eggleston, etc. I also find a lot of inspiration in present day photographs, many of which I have connected with or learnt of through social media. People such as Matt Day and Ted Forbes have played a huge roll in my photographic education and day to day motivation; it’s truly inspiring watching their YouTube content and seeing the communities they have built.

The world we live in is only becoming increasingly more visual; everyone has a camera, everyone is a professional photographer. Black and white is easy to shoot, it’s hard to shoot well; without colour you really need to know what you’re doing. I truly believe that photographic artists will always support the film industry, we’ve even seen some new films hit the market recently. I personally don’t like to think of myself as a photographer, but more so as an artist; photography is simply me medium. There is such an extensive range of artistic possibilities that black and white photography can provide. It allows the artist to work in the abstract, the nostalgic and also as a physical medium; it is simultaneously historical and contemporary.

I will continue to shoot black and white film til the day I die, it gives me the tool to show others how I see the world around me.

This has been one of our free artist features here at La Noir Image. To get access to our more premium stories, please subscribe.

Stefano Edoardo Pusceddu: The Language of Black and White Photography

What makes black and white photography so important to you?

Black and white photography is the essence of the images that my eyes can see but can not capture forever. The absence of color is related to my subconscious. It is quite rare that I remember my dreams in colors. I always been fascinated by my grandpa’s photos during the second world war. He spent years on the planes, risking his life, taking pictures of places and people that began part of my memories in monochrome. I would say that think in black and white for me is easier and familiar.

What inspires you to create photographs?

It has been a necessity since I was a child. My parents bought me a camera when I was 10 to keep me busy while they were working, then I started taking photos of my brothers, neighbors, my dogs, streets, my house. It was an obsession. I still remember rolls of negatives just about plugs (it began an expensive toy for my parents). Life moves too fast, too many significant things happen every minute and I need to catch them. Life is my inspiration, people, my family and me.

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

Why do we still study latin at school? I compare black and white photography to a language that comes from the past. We have the duty to preserve it. I think black and white photography can make a strong difference in the future, redefining the role of the photographer in art.

The world today looks like a color party, is crazy, faster, confused, too saturated. Chromatic minimalism, analog processes and more personal research could help us to slow down.

Be sure to check out Stefano’s work on InstagramFacebook, and Flickr. All images used with permission.

10 Awesome Concert Photographers With Under 10K Followers Shooting Black and White (Premium)

If you have been reading La Noir Image for any time now you should be familiar with our 10 under 10k column. In this column, we gather together 10 outstanding instagrammers who shoot our monthly theme that have less than 10,000 followers. This month we are featuring music/concert photographers, and so today’s list will be made up of those photographers as well.

The one caveat to this months’ listing is that due to the nature of concert photography, there are not many Instagrammers who post primarily black and white feeds in this genre, so we have modified this slightly to highlight photographers on Instagram who have great black and white work, and well under 10,000 followers. Let’s get started.

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Environmental Portraits of NYC Street Musicians by Dimitri Mais

If you were to define some of the things that helps to make NYC what it is, on that list would be the musicians. These troubadours often provide entertainment for many a crowd–who often stop to listen, contribute a donation, and share the moment with followers on social media. Back in the winter of 2016, Dimitri Mais did a special project showcasing some of these musicians in their natural environment. Some of them take refuge in the subways while others simply set up shop on the streets.

Dimitri’s portraits are candid and encompass who these musicians are by using black and white combine with effective natural lighting. The lighting combined with specific use of tones highlights the subject and shows us exactly where to look in the scenes.

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Do these images seem easy to take? Well, yes. Sure. But while they seem easy, sometimes it isn’t simple to actually capture the musicians in this exact state. It requires having a bit of money to donate or just finding the exact right moment, lighting, etc. It’s less of a photojournalism project and more of a documentary portraiture project.

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All images by Dimitri Mais. Used with permission.

From Analog To Digital in Concert Photography

Thee Oh Sees photo by Ebru Yildiz. Used with permission.

When we look back through photography’s most iconic images of rock n’ roll, the most memorable shots in music history were captured on 35mm black & white film. Fast forward to today’s primarily digital world, photographers are able to produce images in both black & white and color, without the extra steps of processing film rolls through messy chemicals to create a negative. Photos can now be uploaded from a digital camera with immediate viewing to a wide audience. This advancement in technology has allowed basically anyone to capture images at concerts, blurring the line between photographer and music fan. But has this shift to digital altered the essence of the images created from the live music experience? As a concert photographer myself, I spoke with a couple of current seasoned music photographers who began their careers using analog film, on how the progression from film to digital effects the images they create in the live music scene.

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The Strokes photo by Ebru Yildiz. Used with permission.

Say what you will about the debate on film versus digital, but this discussion is specific to live concert photography. Yes, medium format film cameras have a distinctly authentic look that digital cannot emulate, similar to how a vinyl recording will have a much richer, organic sound than a mp3. I’m only talking about rock n’ roll here–dark venue stages, unpredictable lighting, guitar players thrashing around and singers jumping into a crowded room of sweaty music fans pressed against the stage’s edge. No quiet portraits in natural lighting, but one of the hardest situations to shoot film in – live music, which is next to impossible to do with medium format. While photography greats such as Annie Leibovitz and Mick Rock shot black & white film in the 1970’s as that was the only option, we now can choose from a vintage film camera and any digital gear you can afford. We can shoot in color, deciding afterward to convert to black and white using software to create a new look. Or just point your smart phone with one hand, beer in the other, and post your shot to Instagram while the band is still playing.

I used to tell myself that learning photography over 20 years ago on an old 35mm film camera, then developing the negatives in my bathroom, has made me a better photographer than I would be starting with a 21 megapixel digital. If you haven’t experienced the patience required to roll film on a metal spool in total darkness, knowing a small kink can result in permanent disaster, I suggest you experience the sweat this induces at least once. Today I feel that it wasn’t really the analog process, but the amount of time, energy, and tenacity it took to get even one image worth printing on paper, that made me a better photographer. But there is something truly magical about this process that cannot be derived in Photoshop. According to the photographers I spoke with, no digital camera released yet is replicating the authentic look achieved only with actual film.

aptbs planning on what to do during the show that night. olie suggests robi should leave towards the end of the show and head back to the storage closet where a drum would be set up and he will continue to play there. and eventually they set up a little station and all 3 finished the show there in the bar area.

From “We’ve Come So Far – Last Days of Death By Audio” photo book by Ebru Yildiz. Used with permission.

Brooklyn music photographer Ebru Yildiz has shot plenty of film, which she still uses for portrait work, but now prefers digital to capture her live music images.

“I think the most important thing you learn with film photography is to choose your frames carefully, instead of shooting in [burst] mode.” says Yildiz. Limited to 36 shots on a roll, you choose every shutter click wisely, rather than blasting away in burst mode on a 64BG memory card, hoping to edit them down to a few good shots. This limitation alone makes you a better photographer.

When shooting film, Yildiz would limit herself to one roll per band at a show. Now with digital, she can shoot many more images but still retains the method of “less is more”. While talent is not reliant on gear, technical expertise certainly offers an upper hand; and unless you learn the relationship yo shutter speed, aperture, and ISO completely, no amount of guessing in auto mode will ever provide consistent results. This is the distinction between taking just a photo of a band and making great images that won’t be forgotten in music history.
Andrew WK By Ami Barwell  Andrew WK photo by Ami Barwell. Used with permission.

Without the option of chimping on an LCD screen, how do you know you’ve captured solid images with correct exposure at the exact moment the singer was midair using film? Well, you learn your camera settings like the back of your hand, in all manual, so well you can envision the correct aperture and shutter speed with every flashing stage light. Trial and error, and a steep learning curve you climb.

Ami Barwell, a UK-based music photographer has been shooting concerts on 35mm film for 20 years, and still never, ever shoots digital.

“Digital cameras are far less accurate and cannot cope with extremely low light and fast-moving conditions; I find digital live music photography painful to look at.”

BRMC 2 By Ami Barwell
 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club photo by Ami Barwell. Used with permission.

Barwell is fast; she can change 7 rolls of films in a dark photo pit during a band’s set, then develop and scan images within 24 hours for publication deadlines. “My turnaround is equally as quick as the majority of digital photographers. So it makes no difference to publications – and they get better quality results on film.” But as Yildiz states, and I find true for me, most publications we work with require a next morning turn around, so upload time need to be less than a few hours. It’s also nice to get some sleep at night.

Both Barwell and Yildiz agree digital cameras are absolutely no match for the look and feel of a true 35mm black and white film photo. Yildiz says people often ask how to get the same “treatment” on her images that inspire them, as in filters or effects, with the biggest inquiry being in her film images. “Funny thing is when I am working on film photos, the only thing I do is increase the contrast, so there is actually no single treatment all!”

So, your Lightroom Black and White Film filter packs are not going to look like you ran Tri-X 400 through developer, it will look like your laptop generated what it thinks is the look of film.

BRMC By Ami Barwell

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club photo by  Ami Barwell. Used with permission.

A digital image can often look grossly over-processed, and no amount of adjusting in post can correct for a terribly exposed image. Film seems to be a bit more forgiving to imperfect exposure or extreme highlights and shadows from stage lighting. Often times it’s the absence of perfect digital tones and smoothness that gives film it’s uniquely raw look- which is an advantage to a music photographer striving to stand out among the masses of cameras in a photo pit these days. Yet, the higher ISO offered with digital cameras allows shooting the movements of a band in almost total darkness. In Yildiz’s words,“Higher ISO is the single most important advantage with digital cameras. You can make photos without flash, and that is pretty crucial for me.”

I still haven’t decided yet to switch back to film. But as said by rock photography legend Jim Marshall, armed with an old Leica M3, “Its never been just a job, its been my life.” Coming from the only photographer permitted backstage to shoot The Beatles final concert, its clear that dedication was the reason he’s created iconic images of the greatest musicians of all time, not because of the latest gear or luck. Whether using film or digital, always experiment, embrace the struggle, and never do anything in auto. There has never been one great band that played their instruments in auto mode.

 

Ashley Hoffman: “Black and white photos are timeless”

Black and white photography is important to me because it makes me think as a photographer. A lot of time, I depend on the lights and colors to create an appealing photo but in B&W, I don’t have those elements to use as a crutch. I actually started out my photography career shooting concerts. I wanted to see a show for free so I volunteered to photograph it for my school newspaper. Even now, after photographing different subjects, concerts and music still inspire me the most. Black and white photos are timeless. They have inspired artists for ages and they definitely will continue to inspire me.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Concert Photography: Legalities and Licensing Of Your Photos (Premium)

All images in this post are used with Creative Commons Permission.

The Foo Fighters take the stage and perform yet another show, this time in Quebec. Imagine the surprise lead singer David Grohl must have had when he looked down to the photographers’ pit and saw…a cartoon sketch artist! Newspaper Le Soleil sent artist Francis Dersharnais to sketch the show instead of a photographer to protest the Foo Fighters’ photographer’s contract, which gave Foo Fighters all rights to any photos shot by the photographers.

The contract didn’t cover drawings.

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Tomoki Momozono’s Telling Black and White Portraits of a Punk Rocker

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There are few things that truly tell a story at times like a well done black and white portrait–and that’s what Tomoki Monozono demonstrates in his series of portraits of a Punk Rocker. Musicians, more than almost any other performer, keep with them stories that are clearly visible on their bodies. Sometimes it’s in the form of tattoos, other times it’s in how they carry themselves, etc. Just have a glance at any portraits of musicians shot in black and white.

Part of what a good photographer is able to do is to find a way to bring out an individuals’ personality in a photo. Tomoki does this by showcasing a number of incredibly important details to the musician. In some photos we see one side that’s a bit more tame but then we begin to see more and more layers to the person as the poses start to change, the eye contact gets mixed up, and we overall just uncover more details–which then begins to unravel a story.

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All images by Tomoki Monozono. Used with permission.

Eight Black and White 90s Music Videos to Inspire Photographers (Premium)

Are the 90s making a comeback? Apparently millennials are whistfully hearkening back to those good old days, when a Clinton was president and the tech bubble hadn’t burst. And if you lived your life through music videos, you know that there were plenty of videos shot in black-and-white. Here we break down eight iconic B&W music vids and show you how you can emulate the style in your photos.

 

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Rachmael Pendragon: Faces of New York

All images by Rachmael Pendragon. Used with permission.

We discovered Rachmael Pendragon’s photos on the Facebook group “I Love Black & White Photography” and were immediately taken by his keen ability to find interesting people and take engaging environmental photos of them on medium and large-format film cameras. A relative newcomer to the world of photography, Rachmael has developed a keen, clearly defined vision.

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From Belushi to Warhol: Marcia Resnick’s Portraits of the Bad Boys Of 1970s New York Counterculture

Marcia Resnick spent much of the 1970s and 80s photographing the marginalized, talented and creative souls — as well as some pretty famous rockers and poets — who were drawn like a magnet to dirty, old, low-rent and near-bankrupt New York City. They came there, Marcia observed, to re-invent themselves. “Musicians, writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers and dancers would congregate at clubs like the Mudd, Max’s and CBGB where they would enjoy the music and begin to collaborate on art projects.” Out of this scene came a mixture of punk rockers, transvestites, performers, and older counterculture figures who Resnick found intriguing.

Resnick recently published Punks, Poets & Provocateurs: New York City Bad Boys, 1977-1982 (Insight Editions, 2015), which focuses on what many consider to be the highlight years of New York’s counterculture. La Noir Image caught up with Marcia Resnick to learn more about the project and how she approached her famous and notorious subjects.

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Elizabeth Hosking: A Study on Negative Space (Premium)

All images by Elizabeth Hosking. Used with permission.

Elizabeth Hosking is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Ms. Hosking is currently working independently exploring themes of human nature and land. Having initially started out as a street photographer; she is now traversing natural and imposing elements with a particular focus on New Zealand and their national natural heritage and connection to their land.

For this month’s focus on Landscape Photography, La Noir got the chance to chat with Ms. Hosking and talk about her process and making the transition from Street and Documentary Photography to working on Landscape projects. Though the subjects may have changed some of the basic principles of photography remain the same; here’s how her story and evolution of her work.

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Pedro Sanchez: On a Closeness to the Sea (Premium)

All images by Pedro Sanchez. Used with permission.

Pedro Sanchez is a photographer based in Santander, Spain. He specializes in long-exposure landscape photography along the Cantabrian coast, capturing the beauty of the beaches, dunes, cliffs and inland features. He says a “big stopper”–neutral density filter is his best friend because it allows him to slow down the exposure and get that silky, flowing water look.

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Methodology: Composing Landscapes with Andrew Stuart (Premium)

All images by Andrew Stuart. Used with permission.

Working with black and white often sounds like a restrictive approach to photography; without the option of using color to tell your story black and white forces you to see the world differently and rely on the technical skills that are the underlying foundation of photography. Specifically black & white forces you to understand how to capture light to recreate the world around you.

To get some more insight, we reached out to Leica Photographer Andrew Stuart to break down the elements of composition and take a look at his workflow. Although primarily an editorial and documentary photographer, Stuart tells us that he loves shooting landscapes because he “[loves] the luxury of taking [his] time” and not needing to rely too heavily on gear and autofocus – allowing him to instead connect with his surroundings.

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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.

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