Tag Archives: black and white art photography

The Meaning of Fuzzy Dice ala Thunderbird

Folklore says the fuzzy dice you find in antique cars owe their start to the fighter pilots of WWII. Pilots would drape a pair of dice over their mirror or instruments in the cockpit for luck before flying on combat missions.

The dishevel of American society caused by war resulted in celebrating rebellious nature against the status quo. This social rebellion not only resulted in the modern-day biker stereotype, but also  hot rods and fast cars finding a place in American culture.

Thus, it was only a matter of time before the little symbol of luck changed and came along for the ride.   During the 50’s and 60’s fuzzy dice appeared as a symbol of rebellion and dangerous racing.

The fad, like most, did not last.   By the late 80’s the dice began to take on a new meaning to the aging population of original hot rodders.   It wasn’t a symbol of rebellion as much as a reminder of the past.

As the decades passed, the feeling of nostalgia only became stronger.  A reminder of past times when fast cars driving with the windows down on winding roads on the way to the local drive thru was born.

Artist Comments:

Fuzzy Dice ala Thunderbird
Fuzzy Dice ala Thunderbird

I endeavored to tap into this feeling of nostalgia while creating this piece. The long black and white panel and steering column of this Ford Thunderbird embodies the past stretching in the distance. The bright red of the dice hanging on the mirrors dramatically rivals memories of past exploits and summer travels.

The bright red dice, shown in full sunlight, is slightly off-center.  I used the color  as a natural draw denoting the struggle we feel coping with the present and future. They become a vivid reminder that the future is bright, colorful, and inviting yet now quite here yet.   It gives hope.

 

 

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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