Let me proudly announce that I discovered a new area of photography. Which is called … black and white photography 🙂 . Indeed, until recently the predominant majority of my images were in color, but black and white were almost nonexistent. And while some people are color blind, one could say that I was black and white blind.
This has changed lately and now I often feel (sometimes subconsciously) when an image is better in BW then in color. So maybe it is not an accident that a couple of awards that I was lucky to win recently were for black and white works. The first of them was Best in Show for the picture “Twisted” in the annual juried exhibition at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. The original image was taken in 2010, obviously in color, and was pretty pathetic. It had been sitting in the remote corner of my computer since then, but a few months ago I began to play with Nik Silver Effex Pro and chose this image for the first exercise. One click and the image suddenly became interesting:
The second award was First Place in Photography at the Mercer County Senior Art Show 2017 (sounds great except for the word “senior”, don’t you think?) for the picture “Hoboken Waterfront”:
This image was initially made in HDR by combining several exposures. As often with HDR, the resulting colors were a bit over the edge, distracting from the essence of the image. But what was distracting in color became captivating and maybe even a bit mysterious in BW.
As usual, all comments are welcome.
Here is a story that might entertain you. A couple of months ago I submitted a series of pictures to the Phillips’ Mill Photography Exhibition . I love and respect this show very much but, alas, this time none of my entries were accepted. Since they were submitted “physically” (what they call framed), the next Saturday I had to pick them up. And while driving over there, I remembered that on the same day the submission to Ellarslie Open 33 in Trenton City Museum was taking place. Ellarslie Open is a well known annual show where various visual art forms are presented. I am not a big fan of such mixed shows: our modest photo-masterpieces often get overwhelmed by huge canvases, sculptures and other creations of human imagination. But this time I decided: why not? After all, the pictures were already in my trunk, plus the museum was almost on my way home. And so, from the 4 phill-mill-rejected photos I rather randomly selected 2 (which is a limit for Ellarslie) and in half an hour they were submitted. A couple of weeks later I learned that both were accepted, and on the opening day one of them got the Best in Show Award for Photography.
Now the question: which of the two juries made the “right” decision? The correct answer is: they both did. Even more correct answer: there is no right or wrong here. Each jury has their own preferences and visions and make their selections accordingly. And that’s it.
I am writing this because some of my friends photographers are still getting verrrry-verrrry upset when their images are not accepted to this or that juried show. Please don’t! Hope this story is a good illustration why.
And in conclusion here are the two pictures in question. I am leaving for you to guess which one got the award (in my opinion the other one is not worse 🙂 ).
A juried photography exhibition Americana recently opened at the Pennsylvania Center for Photography in Doylestown, PA. The general level of this show is pretty high and I am pleased to inform that three of my pictures have been accepted, one of which “Devastation” won the Second Prize.
Good news: my pictures were recently accepted to several juried exhibitions. The first is called “Breathing Earth” and was accepted at the 35th Annual Juried Art Exhibition “Expressions of the Natural World” in Monmouth Museum (http://www.monmouthmuseum.org/acceptedartists.html). As somebody may ask, is it still planet Earth? Yes it is: the image was made in Yelowstone. Moreover, except for a gentle “massaging” around the sun, there was no serious photoshopping involved.
The second image was taken in Point Reyes, California and accepted for the “Oasis and Mirage: Disappearing Water” exhibition in the D&R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton, NJ (http://www.drgreenway.org/art_galleries.htm). I was lucky to catch a moment when an ocean was glowing under the beautifully mixed sunlight (and lucky to come up with a nice title for the picture :)).
On the Edge of the Earth
The last image “Colors of Mexico” will be shown at the 31st Ellarslie Open in Trenton City Museum
(http://ellarslie.org/ellarslie-open-xxxi). It was taken in Guanajuato, Mexico, and for those who have never been there, here is the key word: colors. Imagine all possible colors in all possible combinations, then add saturation, then more saturation, and on the top of everything throw a lot of blinding sun. The result will be Guanajuato.
Colors of Mexico
Until recently, when asked what my primary photographic interests are, I usually replied that it is travel photography (see for example http://www.vovsi.com/about). But now I am not even sure what “travel photograpy” is and if such a “genre” of photograpy actually exists. To explain what I mean, let me give a few examples. A few years ago I traveled to Norway and, as any of the many “photographer-enthusiasts” made tons of pictures (most of them were dreadful but it is not the point). Here are a few:
Together with the other images from that series they describe my trip to Norway and therefore for me personally they are travel photography. But if an independent observer were asked which genre of photography each of these images belongs to, the answers most probably would be: (a) portrait; (b) nature; (c) landscape. I doubt that travel photography would ever come to his/her mind.
Moreover, let’s imagine that precisely the same images were made by a Norvegian photographer right near his/her home (most probably they would be better than mine but it is not the point). The guy/gal would never think that they have anything to do with travel. And the word “travel” would quietly disappear from the conversation … .
So here is the point. Actually two points, both rather paradoxical.
1. The concept of travel photography is relative. It depends on who is the author of the images in question. Strange, isn’t it?
2. It does not make a lot of sense to speak about travel photography while considering a single image (even made by a “real” traveler, not by an aborigen). A single image is a portrait, a landscape, a street scene, a nude, a bird, etc. For me the words “travel photography” are appropriate only when we have a series of images giving a coherent description of a certain travel.
Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome.
People often ask why I am so attracted to photographing sculptures. Being unable to come up
with a rational explanation, I usually reply with a joke: “There are two reasons: they never move and never complain”.
Anyway, when about a year ago Princeton University opened an exhibition of a famous Chinese sculptor Ai Weiwei =”Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” (see http://www.princeton.edu/aiww/about), I could not resist temptation and took a number of shots there. The exhibition is at the Robertson Hall on Washington Road; it features 12 bronze monumental sculptures of animal heads, real or fantastic, each representing a sign of the Chinese zodiac (don’t quite understand why the word “circle” is used
there – the sculptures are placed in a stright line):
The shooting was not very successful and later I deleted most of the images without regrets. But one of them was worthwhile photoshoping, and I have been just pleased to learn that it got a Merit Award at the “Focus on Sculpture” annual photo exhibition at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ (see http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/Exhibitions/Educaton-Gallery-Exhibition-Focus-on-Sculpture):