Famous Photographers Black And White Still Life

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Famous Photographers Black And White Still Life

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Famous Photographers Black And White Still Life.

This American photographer was known for the clarity and detail of the still life images he captured. Irving Penn was born on 16th June, 1917. He graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1938.

Penn also worked as a fashion photographer. He was well-known for using white and gray backdrops in photography. In fact, he was the first one to popularize the use of gray and white backgrounds. Penn used food and a variety of other objects, while making the best use of lines and basic shapes, to capture appealing photographs.

The J. Paul Getty Museum located in Los Angeles, California exhibited most of Irving Penn’s work. Initially, Penn wanted to become a painter; however, his work experience in designing covers for Vogue magazine inspired an interest in photography.

Born on 24th March, 1886, Edward Weston was considered as one of the most influential photographers of America. From a young age, Weston always knew what he wanted to be. He was the first photographer to have received the Guggenheim Fellowship.

His career in photography spanned for 40 years. Weston’s photographs have a great variety; he also did portrait, landscape, and nude photography. Making use of many different types of cameras and techniques, Weston added a Californian ‘flavor’ that was reflected in his creations.

Weston replaced the orthochromatic sheet film he used before 1921 with panchromatic film. The papers he used for printing were also of different types. Silver gelatin paper was a standard used by Edward in the initial days.

Later on, he learned to make use of palladium and platinum papers. These papers had to be imported from England. The shortage of supply and the high price of these papers made Weston abandon them for printing later.

Photographing Still Life – Taking The PhotographA few suggestions for taking still life photographs and a few examples of the masters of still life photography

Another famous photographer of still life is Czech photographer Josef Sudek. He became well known for his atmospheric photographs of the city of Prague but I’m particularly fascinated by his beautiful still life photos. It almost looks as if he adopted Henri Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment concept and applied that to still life photography. As if he came across those still life objects by coincidence and didn’t even bother to arrange them into a composition. They all exude so much atmosphere.

Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is another master of photography, well known for his often provocative nude photographs of both males and females, but also for his studies of Calla lily flowers and other flowers. His compositions of still life are more complex than Edward Weston’s photographs of still life, often times using geometrical shapes formed by shadows or by the props he’s using like beautifully formed vases or just the shape of a (book)shelf. Most of Mapplethorpe’s still life photographs is in black and white but I think his color still life work is equally breathtaking.

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by Joel Tjintjelaar | Sep 29, 2015 | B&W RECOMMENDED, Blog, Tutorials | 1 comment

capture the floweranalyze the color composition and create a high level approach for the black and white version: the vision part.create hard and soft selections based off the original color imagecreate the 3 different black and white versions (or less or more depending on the result you want)merge the versions together using masks and gradient toolsmanually adding highlights, darkening part and create smooth transitions between the indicated areas visualized prior to post processing – this is the most time consuming part.

“I believe that photography loves banal objects, and I love the life of objects.” – Josef Sudek

Here are the two photographs. Obviously the color photo is the version as it came out of the camera and the other one the final processed version. The version that matched my internal vision.

In a nutshell these are the following steps I used to create the image:

Composition: since you have complete control over the arrangement of objects in your frame this will require a lot of your compositional skills. You’re not bound to a given scene like in photographing architecture or landscapes, where you would get closer or move away from the subject to get the composition that works for you.

That looks like a limitation but in fact it’s liberating knowing that you can’t move a mountain or a building to enhance your composition. The given arrangement is either good, then you take the photo, or not good, you will then need to look for a better vantage point or just completely abandon it.

With still life photography you’re rather fixed to just one position and it all comes down to the manual arrangement of objects for your photograph with an infinite amount of arrangement options. You could even take your objects outside.

It can become quite complicated. Whatever you decide, simple is better, in my view. But a simple, minimalistic composition also makes it more difficult to create interest for your subject. You can often compensate that with interesting and dramatic light to enhance the composition and the mood.

That’s what I and most still life photographers try to do. It’s often the opposite with still life painters where you generally tend to see many objects. See the small gallery below with some examples of famous still life paintings.

The exception is Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers with just a flower and a vase and a minimalistic background, pretty similar to how contemporary still life photographers like Mapplethorpe would approach it.

I even think he was inspired by van Gogh’s flower paintings for his own compositions. If you decide to give more interest to the image by adding more supporting objects or props to the composition, then keep in mind that you have to arrange them carefully and accurately.

The more objects in your frame, the more difficult it will be to make the arrangement of objects aesthetically pleasing. It certainly helps to study still life paintings to get some inspiration.

Post Processing Still Life – Creating The PhotographBlack and white post processing of still life – a short demonstration

“…My whole point is to transcend the subject. …Go beyond the subject somehow, so that the composition, the lighting, all around, reaches a certain point of perfection. That’s what I’m doing. Whether it’s a cock or a flower, I’m looking at it in the same way. …in my own way, with my own eyes.” – Robert Mapplethorpe

Lighting and lenses: you can use natural light or artificial light. Of course if you have off-camera flash like studio lights and on top of that a proper neutral background, it’s easier to light and isolate your subjects but you can get very similar effects by making effective use of natural daylight and the right lens.

For example: by using a longer focal length with a telephoto lens and using a wider aperture, subjects can be isolated very easily. The trade off is of course that by using a wide aperture the depth of field will be very shallow and your subject will not be sharp overall.

But it really depends on how you approach and present your still life photograph to make the shallow depth of field work in your favour or not. In any case I find shooting still life photographs with a wide angle much more challenging since you have to shoot more up close and that will result in less isolation of your subject from your background.

Also the lighting will be more critical. I’ve photographed various still life using a 24mm tilt shift lens to either apply a selective focus or to have sharpness throughout the whole subject without having to resort to smaller apertures.

If you do that then make sure you work with a tripod which unfortunately gives you less flexibility in composing your shot. There are pros and cons to every type of set-up and it depends on what you want to achieve.

The most professional results if you want to have overall sharpness without using very small apertures can be obtained with a tripod, a tilt shift lens, one or two studio lights and a neutral backdrop.

The easiest results can be obtained with a longer lens, wider aperture and nothing else. The main photo of this article, called So What, has been photographed using a 70-200mm lens. Focal length is 108mm and aperture is f/8.

0. I used one key light with a soft-box and one fill light to fill up the shadows.

Neutral black and white conversion with blue filter applied for the dark tones in the flower

Roughly speaking I needed a dark mid gray flower, a darker mid gray background and a dark mid gray vase with soft contrasts. I can add the highlights after I have accomplished the overall mid gray look of the image. Next step therefore, is to create basic black and white conversions of the image. I’ve created the following three conversions using Silver Efex Pro but you can do the same using Topaz or even the Photoshop black and white conversion feature.

Instead of explaining in detail how I processed this image, I do think that’s the least interesting part and besides you can find all about my black and white photography post processing method in my free tutorials on this website, my video tutorials or the book (scroll down to the conclusion to see all the links and details), I’ll try to explain how I came from the color version to a version that looks like it looks now on a conceptual level. The question I imagine many people would ask: why that specific version? What were the decisions you’ve made that lead to that version?

Below are 2 quick examples of still life photography with the tilt shift lens, straight out of the camera, using two studio lights and a background system. First photo shows use of the tilt shift lens with an aperture of f/7.1 and using the tilt feature in such a way that overall sharpness of the subjects is achieved. The second photo shows the use of selective focus by tilting the TS lens so that only part of the flower is in focus and the vase is slightly blurred.

As you can see by the hotspots the idea is to use tonal zones that are adjacent to each other with a subtle difference in light/dark across the center of the image where the subject is. The highest difference in contrast is between the white inside of the vase and its surrounding (to give it a subtle sense of depth) and inside the flower itself. The principle of using selective contrast to lead the viewer’s eye effectively inside the frame. I’ve enclosed the highlights inside the flower within mid gray tones that are close to the mid gray tones directly outside of the flower but yet different enough to isolate the flower from the background. Part of the idea is to integrate the flower within the frame in a non obtrusive way by using similar or adjacent tonal zones for adjacent areas. Areas farther away from each other can have higher contrast but again adjacent areas should transition in a subtle way into other areas to reduce the contrast. The highest contrast is therefore inside the flower to ‘lock up’ the viewer inside the flower. The overall result is a minimalistic image that has a calm, austere look and feel to it, due to the largely soft contrasts throughout the image and only high contrasts in selective areas.

Both these photographers had a unique approach towards this art. Their works reflect this difference in approach.

An approach to photographing and post processing still life black and white photographs

I will now introduce a few masters of photography who not only know how to capture such seemingly trivial and uninteresting subjects as still life, but also know how to bring them alive in their presentations and make it look as if there isn’t anything more beautiful. I can recommend studying their work, even if you’re not a still life photographer, just because the value isn’t in the subject matter that they’re using for their photographs, the value is in the way they see things that can make any subject extraordinary. The notion that many photographers have that you can only create a beautiful and extraordinary photograph by photographing exotic subjects or locations, is indicative for the way most photographers tend to see and perceive. It has little to do with seeing but more with a lack of imagination. The real art is seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The famous and iconic Pepper number 30 photograph by Edward Weston is a fantastic example of how a common subject can become something very intriguing and even mysterious when observed and photographed by a photographic master. Edward Weston’s approach to still life photography is very much straight forward, not using any additional compositional elements other than light and shadow to make his subject come alive. It’s something very commonplace made extremely unusual, just by seeing the intricate beauty of a specific subject and make it come alive using light, shadows and black and white to the subject’s advantage.

People familiar with my photos and my black and white photography processing method of iSGM2.0 will know that this method of processing black and white photographs is very effective and accurate and gives you complete control over your architectural, landscape or seascape photographs. The questions I get asked on a frequent basis is, if they also work on black and white still life photography, portrait photography or even for color photography. Yes of course they work for those types of photographs as well. It will work on any subject matter since my method is based on the principles of isolating and controlling light and shapes and every photograph, whether this is an architectural black and white photograph, a black and white portrait photograph or any kind of black and white or color photograph, always consists of light and shapes. They are the foundations of every photograph in the post processing phase. Please refer to this article on Black and White Photography Post Processing Techniques In The Digital Age in which I explain in detail how post processing in the digital age can be done effectively and efficiently with a superior degree of control by identifying and isolating light and shapes. And control is what is needed for craftsmanship in art.

Photo 1 is the neutral conversion for the vase. Photo 2 is also a neutral conversion but this time with a blue filter to increase the darker tones in the flower itself but with soft contrasts. It almost has a velvety look and feel to it. The dark mid gray look of every element in the frame was important and the flower needed to have the visually most appealing dark mid gray tones with only selective contrasts. Some readers may argue that I also could’ve used this version for the vase, but the vase is due to the blue filter too dark and flat. Photo 3 is the underexposed version, primarily used for the darker background only.

Although this is obviously a very important phase, the phase in which “you choose the marble to cut off from the rock to sculpt it and bring it alive according to your artistic vision” to use an analogy from the art of sculpture, I’m only going to highlight a few aspects regarding the capturing of still life photographs, that may help you when shooting still life yourself. In this phase of course the following aspects are important:

Still life photography is a complex art form with many elements. What seems to be a simple image, is a work of many factors working together in harmony. The photographer must take into consideration the composition, exposure, lighting, and he/she must also carefully select the objects to photograph.

The photographer has the freedom of arranging subjects/objects to enhance the final or resulting effect. The art of still life photography allows the liberty of experimenting with the arrangement of the subjects, which cannot be performed in landscape or other forms of photography.

Or perhaps you’re looking for more personal (one-on-one) guidance through one of my (online) workshops or online portfolio reviews: check my workshop page for more information

Hopefully you will agree with me that photographing still life isn’t a boring photography niche at all. It requires a lot of the compositional skills of the fine-art photographer and even more of his perceptive skills. The real art in photography is to see the beauty in the mondaine and make it extraordinary just by really seeing instead of just looking. Seeing in this context is a way of looking at things with higher awareness. Seeing leads to more aware perception. If you really see then subject matter shouldn’t really matter in expressing your unique view on the world. Whether I shoot architecture of flowers, there’s always the same conceptual idea, the same kind of awareness of shapes, light, shadows and how they interact to create an impression. This impression, filtered through my mind, can be the ‘marble’ I seek to cut off of this rock to sculpt my creation. Subject matter is almost irrelevant. Shapes and light matter more.

Trackbacks/PingbacksThe Complete Guide to Black and White Photography – 97 Tips – […] Still Life […]

If you want to learn more about my method of black and white post processing you can read the free tutorials in the tutorials section on my website. If you want to know all ins and outs of my iSGM2.0 method of post processing a black and white photograph, then I can highly recommend reading either the 424 pages eBook From Basics to Fine Art – Black and white photography, architecture and beyond, written by me and co-author Julia Anna Gospodarou or view my latest 3.5 hour B&W post processing Speed workflow tutorial that is all about my black and white photography post processing method.

Lightest mid gray areaDark mid gray areaDarkest mid gray areaDark shadow area (approx. zones 1 and 2)Highlights – but enclosed within mid grays and not on the edges to have the strongest selective contrast inside the flower

Once you’re in this phase of creating the photograph, it all revolves around control of the image to create a fine-art photograph according to your envisioned image. As I explained in my article on post processing techniques in the digital age, control can be achieved after identifying and then isolating the most important shapes and light in your photograph. The subject doesn’t matter. I’m mostly known for my architectural and seascape photographs and if you read my blog on a regular basis you will find many tutorials on how to apply my post processing method of iSGM2.0 to architectural photographs. I’m going to demonstrate now, using my So What still life photograph how to process a still life to black and white using my method.

Looking at the color photograph you will see that even though the color palette is a very interesting one and matches with the triadic color scheme, I’ve decided to not go with color but with a black and white version. If you know my architectural work and my generic approach behind black and white post processing then you would know that use of selective contrast, not global contrast, and use of darker mid grays and emphasized shadows are part of my signature style. I didn’t want a completely black background like you would see in my Calla Lily photographs but a dark mid gray background. Since I didn’t want to overpower the viewer with dynamic contrasts all over the image I chose to process the flower and vase in similar mid gray tones as the background with subtle selective contrasts to isolate the flower from the background. Subtlety is key for this image. Below are two color versions with various notes in it. Both are similar representations of my general idea but the second one contains the translation to distribution in tonal zones.

High contrast areas from zone 1 – 10High contrast area from zone 2 – 10The red areas have low contrast

In this article I will give an example of how to approach a black and white still life photograph using my method of black and white post processing, following the phases as mentioned in my article. I will also give insight into my specific vision that precedes the processing phase: if you don’t have an idea, a visual and imaginary presentation of how to process it, then the technique is rather useless. But maybe more importantly: I’m trying to make a case for still life photography to hone your compositional skills and to learn how to really SEE things by showing the work of some famous still life photographers and how they make the ordinary look extraordinary.

“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” – Edward Weston

After this it was just a matter of applying my iSGM2.0 method of black and white post processing, using one hard selection for the outline of the flower and vase together so I could isolate it from the background and several soft selections or luminosity masks for the isolation of light. Combined with the use of layers, layer masks and both the linear and reflected gradient tool, I merged the images together and manually added the highlights in the flower using luminosity masks. I also used the luminosity masks to increase sharpness in specific areas.

Advanced Tips These advanced suggestions are that will help you look previous all the fundamental ideas which cowl most aspects of photography. The digicam gear, tools and accessories are things that make it easier to take higher photographs. The following tips are there to help you acquire deeper knowledge , looking at a doable message, expertise or emotion you want to portray. This text helps where and when to make use of things equivalent to micro-contrast. Also learn how to effectively use and place the blackest areas of the photograph in relation to the mid-tone gray areas. Your images will profit immensely.

How To Make an Image Black and White in Photoshop & Lightroom All cameras, except for the Leica M Monochrom, take photographs in colour. If you would like a black and white picture , then it`s good to convert the color to a monochrome state. There are lots of strategies you are able to do this, but only a few will provide you with the best possible quality and tonal range. Learn our article here on how one can make an image black and white, without losing high quality , element or other important factors.

Publish -Processing Black and White Photography All digital editing software program for Mac, PC, smartphone or Android affords a conversion from colour to black and white. Except you took a colour photograph , converted it into black and white in a non- destructive manner , you cannot revert it. The data is no longer there. There are lots of methods to transform to black and white, some of which are non- harmful ( means that you can go back to color in the event you like) however only some ways the place you may convert the image properly. This text tells you what it is best to or shouldn’t be doing to get the most out of your photographs.

Methods to Edit Pictures on Cellular Now that we`ve looked primarily at DSLRs, let’s flip our consideration towards cell photography. Taking pictures together with your cell is fast and straightforward , and now converting and processing your photos into black and whites is not any extra difficult. This article reveals you the right way to utilize an app to turn these images into something actually dramatic.

The way to Handle Photographs in Submit - Manufacturing Working with black and white photos will not be the same as working with color – each have completely different focuses and wish different areas of attention. The Black and White pictures can profit from colours. Adding yellow into the picture utilizing a color mixer can affect the element within the sky. This brings out traits in an in any other case overexposed section of the image. Also , tweaking of contrasts and highlights can have very dramatic results in a Black and White photograph.

Issues to Contemplate When Editing Black and White Pictures When it comes all the way down to the modifying of your images , the hardware might be just as vital because the software you use. Your computer monitor can have a color administration system that may show your photographs otherwise to the color management of the printing. Also , where you edit the photographs can also be vital , creating color casts that change how you see our images. You might think that black and white photos is not going to be affected, but they nonetheless use colour information in the grey , mid-tone areas of your work. Whatever you can be doing with your images as a remaining product, be it a e-book or an exhibition, all of them want totally different treatments.

How one can Use Tonal Contrast with Photography The tonal vary in black and white photography is without doubt one of the most vital issues to focus on. The range is basically the diploma of how vibrant or how darkish components of your image are. The bigger the tonal range , that means the more darkish and lightweight areas there are, the extra impressive the image. Although distinction works well in each color and black and white, the latter wants it extra to stand out and make an enduring impression.

10 Ideas for Using Luminosity Masks in Digital Blending Luminosity masks are a feature in Photoshop that helps you isolate areas of a high light intensity in the photograph ’s pixels. With these picks , you`ll be able to select areas of the photograph and only work on particular tones, not the entire image. These are great to help boost the main target and look of a particular object in your frame. This article gives you a terrific rundown, from creating the masks to the completed image.

The right way to Transition From Taking to Making the Photograph Ansel Adams said , “You don’t take a photograph , you make it”. This information takes you through many ideas. Wanting at the primary elements , what makes an important photograph and methods to make it right into a closing , polished print. Focusing on the fundamental concepts and continuing to identify , isolate and control the weather will assist your photographic confidence.

Methods to Edit Black And White Photos in Lightroom Lightroom is likely one of the best tools out there to help you get the best out of your photography. It`s easy and fast to choose -up and might help with your workflow. Presets are an effective way to get very spectacular images. They are additionally fast and simple to use and are created by photographic fans or Adobe itself. On this article, you will get an thought of what try to be taking a look at in the case of modifying your work and how to achieve dramatic results.

Processing Photographs in Photoshop In comparison with the benefit of processing photographs in Lightroom, Photoshop is a little more complicated and requires more studying time. This article lets you get the perfect out of your black and white picture by working with colour layers, filters and blending options.

IMAGE COLLECTIONS : Famous Photographers Black And White Still Life

Portraits and still life 2010 photographyStill life photography bananas35 superb examples of still life photography inspirationBlack and white still life photography famous google searchBaby children photographyStill life photography all photos are linked and lead to the sources from which they were taken please feel free to explore further works of theseNothing beats experience thats certain but flat out insisting that photography is best when self taught is a bit narrow mindedI am famousSydney opera house