Tag Archives: black and white art photography

7 Whispered Meanings of Koi Art

There are few fish that are as atheistically beautiful as the koi fish.   The koi is a variety of carp that began its relationship with man in a dubious position. Originally they were simply bred for food to help supplement the almost completely rice diet of poor peasant farmers in the Far East.

However, this historical story cannot but help explain the sheer power of art and beauty over the human mind. Or in this case the stomach.   For some reason, one we may never completely understand, there was a mutation to a few of these fish that produced the incredible variety of colors found in some of the fish today.

People began to see this lowly food source as more than just something to eat. Because of their beauty they soon become ornamental and even started to have legends being told about them. These legends include how they are brave, purposed fish who through the sheer power of determination can swim upstream and even in some case up waterfalls.

Since koi fish represent such positive energy of purpose they are also given to a belief that their presence will increase other attributes.  They whisper energy that brings:

 

  1. Wealth and prosperity
  2. Success of goals
  3. Career advancement
  4. Relationships of long-lasting love.
  5. Symbol of strength
  6. Power of purpose
  7. Freedom from distraction
Koi Fish
Koi Fish

At first these eye-catching color are fish natural subjects for art. However, it was not for the brilliant colors that I captured their tranquil lives. I noticed that the scales of the koi would reflect light almost like a shiny metallic type of armor.  Since one of the finer aspects of black and white photography is about lighting a subject, this work remains a perfect opportunity for artistic enhancement.

The result is consists of swirls of creamy abstract whites on some fish and scaled elements of contrast on others. As the colors change into their respective shades of gray and creams, they gain a definite balance of minimalist quality. It’s just fish, but with their deep visual meanings of artistic display and centuries of eastern influence these simple koi take on a much more elegant and balanced display of nature’s beauty.

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Have You Seen This Powerful Display of Black and White Photographic Art?

Black and white photographic art remains as powerful today as any past era in photographic history. The crispness of duality cannot suffer any doubts and there is no greater duality than that of untainted black against the pure white.

It grabs the eye with a tenaciousness of a large dog locking its jaw on a favorite chew toy you are holding. It is an event you cannot help but notice not only through mere imagery but also tactile sensations.

Artistic photography is no different.  Once you see the results of artistic imagery founded in black and white you are permanently changed. The primordial dance between sterile whites, subtle grays and powerful blacks leave an impression on the soul that is not easily removed. It takes us to a special place in our thoughts that influence our emotions and response.

Rose Petals
Rose Petals

Indeed, this power to influence our internal emotions allow such an image as Rose Petals to reach into the very fabric of our being and calm our idealization of beautiful art. This is a rose that, devoid of color, does not lose any of power for expression on any level. On the contrary, this simple rose only gains the power of influence over our minds and hearts when its striped of color. The color of the rose no longer portrays an endless cycle of distraction from the lines, shades and integral power behind the image. It’s very soul is laid bare and we are the happier for it.

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Are You Missing Out?

Did you know that today I sent out a pre-release email of our next hit work of art just in time for Christmas?   No?

Well, that’s because our Friends can see our newest works of art, when they are not released to the public yet.

Here is a hint.  –  It presents the primordial dance between sterile whites, subtle grays and powerful blacks. There is no greater duality than that of untainted black against the pure white.  Curious?

Our holiday orders are up 200% over last year, that means that our Friends have the best chance of ordering that perfect gift. Why let them have all the glory?   You can become a Friend also.  It’s easy and we don’t spam or sell your information.

 

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The Potential of This Photograph is Awesome

Last week we started off with a picture of a strange-looking flower blooming off the side of a palm tree. The starting unfiltered picture is typical of what you find on the Internet. It’s certainly not a bad picture per se, but it does have issues that we will need to contend with before one can look at it and unabashedly call it a work of art.

What is the potential?
What is the potential?

One of the biggest difficulties in the picture is the heavy dose of sunlight affecting the overall image and is robbing us of detail that would enhance the picture. This has everything to do with the time day I took the picture.  In this case it’s a trade-off between technique and artistic imagery.  If I were to take the picture at an earlier or later time so that the lighting is perfect, the sun would not be at an angle in the sky to flow directly on the flower. Lighting is what gives an image its dramatic power.

So, one of the first things to do is to rebalance the image reduce the sunlight glare from blowing out our image. Once we mange that, both on the camera through a lens filter and then again in Photoshop, we pull out more detail and move on to any color issues.

The picture is green predominately green and white. It’s a plant so that is to be expected, but I want to enhance that drama we were talking about earlier. I do this by simply changing the image to a black and white one. The advantage is that the white will remain but the greens will turn into varying shades of blacks and grays thus not only preserving our drama but enhancing it.

After this transformation I work with the contrast and brightness and make sure that there is an area of pure white and pure black in the image for aesthetic reasons.

I then move on towards working with a modern day version of dodging and burning the picture to further enhance both the dark areas and the dramatic white. The last step is to make sure that no digital noise has crept in the photograph robbing the image of a silky smooth look. So I use a denoise filter designed to take the noise out .

You may ask why I’m not giving specific details about the exact settings I use in Photoshop or how many filters I may apply. It’s not that my answers are full of trade secrets. Rather, the reason is that there are no set hard fast rules for applying filters and using dodge and burn on your images. Some images may require 3 filters, some 13. It is dependent upon your artistic eye and the individual image.

Thus I am left with the enhanced image below.

 

Palm Flower
Palm Flower

Hope you enjoyed this look at a simplified version of taking and image and working it step by step and filter by filter into a work of art.

 

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What Makes The Image Of A Stretching Pelican So Powerful?

If there were ever a case about the sheer visual power of a black and white image it would have to include “Stretching Pelican”.   Color is popular in the art world; there is no denying it. After all we see in color, dress by colors, and each of our world cultures have, in their own way, given colors specific meanings.

So why then is there such artistic fascination with the unseen world of black and white? What is the draw? We are able to see an object painted black or one colored white, but we don’t visualize the world in such a way.

This lack of an ability to simply turn color in the visual world off truly belongs to the realm of the artist. Artists love to take that which cannot be seen but by definition must remain imagined and bring them into the forefront of our understanding.

Thus we have Stretching Pelican.   This is a typical brown pelican. Very much like its name, this bird really isn’t much to look at in its natural color. Its weird shape and large size draw more attention than the plain brown of the plumage.  For lack of better commentary, it’s just  a large brown bird.

Don’t misunderstand; the bird is graceful and powerful in its own right. There are plenty of fish in the sea that fear the mere presence of such a creature. Its wings spread out in the tropical sun, gliding over the surface of the water with eyes fixed upon the fish below.

But, the color! The color is a burnt brown. The wings are brown. The head is brown. Even the magnificent beak is nothing more than a shade of boring brown.   Yet, if we take this image and remove the color an incredible sight opens before us.

Stretching Pelican
Stretching Pelican

The feathers of the wings become these awesome shades of blackness slowly contrasted with brilliant peaks of white. The feathers of the tail and body almost look rigid with the white sharp contrast set against the black interior of the feather.   The feathers almost look like a metal armor.

Indeed, each feather suddenly renders a level of detail and structure previously hidden to the human eye.   Such detail brings new ideas and thoughts into focus. We see armor plating where there is none; we see rigidity where there is only softness. The bird becomes artistic and open for interpretation. The feathers, wings and even head suddenly take on a new atmosphere. It’s up to the viewer to decide the overall meaning, but that is what photographic black and white photography is all about.

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