I came across his work after I started doing night work - I've tried some Kenna-esque black and whites to complement my normal color work. There is a great minimalist and zen quality to the images and Michael Levin very much feels like a contemporary of Michael Kenna. When I decide “what” I want to photograph, I choose the appropriate locations. Michael Kenna: I don’t think there was ever a decisive moment when passion and enlightenment about photography suddenly enveloped me. Minimalism is the key word when discussing Kenna’s work. From an early age Kenna aspired to be a priest and, aged eleven, began studying at a seminary school. November 20 - December 19. Using the analogy of the theater, I would say that I like to photograph the empty stage, before or after the performance, even in between acts. But both lead the eye to a hazy distance. I find there is something therapeutic and hypnotic in this activity, similar to practicing landscape photography. It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. Michael Kenna is a huge inspiration for me. I particularly like what happens with long exposures, for example, moving clouds produce unique areas of interesting density in the sky, stars and planes produce white lines, rough water transforms into ice or mist, etc. We recently had a Michael Kenna Photography Facebook fan page put up and there are now about 14,000 fans. Tags: Creativity - Quotes, michael kenna, Photographers, John Paul Caponigro – Digital Photography Workshops, DVDs, eBooks. I don’t recall where I first encountered his photos, but, although they were not the street photography I was attracted to at first, they struck a chord. And I love that, because there’s a question mark. As Kenna said in the interview excerpt above, he likes "tunnels of trees," which lead the viewer’s eye to the distance. As one of 6 children born to a working class Irish-Catholic family, he initially aspired to enter the priesthood but his passion for the arts led him to The Banbury School of Art where he studied painting and then photography. Thanks. According to Margaret Livingstone in her classic “Vision And Art: The Biology Of Seeing”, we have two visual systems: an evolutionarily older B&W one that concentrates on edges and contrasts, the most efficient way to detect movement (Something’s moving. I love the atmosphere of anticipation, the feeling in the air that events have happened, or will happen soon…” – Michael Kenna, “Perhaps most intriguing of all is that it is possible to photograph what is impossible for the human eye to see – cumulative time.” – Michael Kenna, “Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever, and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities.” – Michael Kenna. So powerful that my first photography book is The Rouge, a signed copy of it. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. As small tokens of appreciation, I have often credited those influences openly by including their names in the titles of work. Paperback. Using compositional elements like this is simply a matter of seeing them and recognizing them, then framing them in the appropriate manner. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. The make of camera and type of film we happen to use has little bearing on the results.” – Michael Kenna, “I don’t have any particular method to my madness. I love the journey as much as the destination. Naturally, in a black and white photograph, you go from dark to light, it’s the way we see. He gained fame in this field as a photographer of the American West, and for his black and white photo of a landscape, markedly for the Yosemite … View Michael Kenna’s 887 artworks on artnet. Here’s what he said to me about the above photo: "I think with many of my images I have pathways, I have directions, I have tunnels of trees… I have boardwalks that go out because I’m creating something of a stage for the viewer to go onto and to be on their own, to be solitary. It has been thus throughout history in all mediums of creative expression. January 2003. Michael Kenna December 2001 Jim Kasson interviewed Michael Kenna at his home in San Francisco. Rafu Japan, 2008-2018 … On the Shoulder of Giants, Camera Darkroom Magazine, July 1995 In the Darkroom with Michael Kenna, Photowork, 1997 Interview with Michael Kenna, Photoforum, 2003 Michael Kenna Interview, Photo Review, 2003 Pro Cameraman interviews Michael Kenna, Dolby … He uses a lot of symmetry and rule of thirds but is not afraid to break rules if the composition calls for it. Often working at dawn or during the night, he has concentrated primarily on the interaction between the ephemeral atmospheric condition of the natural … The night has vast potential for creativity.” – Michael Kenna, “I gravitate towards places where humans have been and are no more, to the edge of man’s influence, where the elements are taking over or covering man’s traces.” – Michael Kenna, “Parks and gardens are the quintessential intimate landscapes. Michael Kenna is one of the most popular and influential landscape photographers of the last 50 years. I recently had an opportunity to meet Michael Kenna and interview him for the PhotoActive podcast, just before the opening of a 45-Year Retrospective Exhibition at Bosham Gallery, on the southern coast of England. With a career stretching more than 45 years, his work has been exposed in hundreds of exhibitions, and, to his count, he has published 72 books, with more in the works. I look for traces of the past, visual fingerprints, evidence of activities – they fire my imagination and connect into my own personal experiences. Michael Kenna is no doubt a contemporary master at photography. Film can accumulate light and record events that our eyes are incapable of seeing. These two systems seem to compete with each other when we look at a photo, a special case of seeing. Kenna studied painting and photography at the Banbury School of Art and later attended the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication). Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. I watch the water, the leaves on the trees, passing cars, changing shadows, smoke from chimneys, whatever is around. MK: It’s called Easter Island and is published by Nazraeli Press. Here’s Stone Pine Tunnel, Pineto, Abruzzo, Italy 2016. Sometimes it is a basic concern for security but at others it is a more meditational activity. Sometimes I choose “where” I want to photograph, then look for the “what” when I get there! I watch the sky and imagine what patterns the clouds and stars will make on my film. One of my hobbies is long distance running. The leading lines of the road, and of the tree branches that become more concentrated and smaller, frame the lines of the poplar trees as they move from individual, repeated tree trunks to merge in the distance. Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques Harold Davis. Over a period of time the world changes; rivers flow, planes fly by, clouds pass and the earth’s position relative to the stars is different. Oct 10, 2017 - Michael Kenna / Born 1953 in Widnes, Lancashire, England, best known for his black & white landscapes. Michael Kenna exhibition. Kenna was actually somewhat responsible for the creation of the Chicago Outfit of today. Brooks Jensen: Your 20th book is about to be published – this one entitled Calais Lace. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Please check "Upcoming" for future exhibitions, publications, book signings and lectures. I do not feel that I have ever stolen from these artists.” – Michael Kenna, “I think style is just the end result of personal experience. On my own journey, I have actively tried to see through the eyes of many well known photographers, including but not limited to Atget, Bernhard, Brandt, Callahan, Cartier Bresson, Giacomelli, Misrach, Scheeler, Steiglitz, Sudek, Sugimoto, Weston (Brett) and many others. Leading lines are a common element of composition. The Briton, famed for his black-and-white landscapes, loves the plastic pocket camera for its unpredictability and the whimsical quality of the resulting photos The tried and true world of black and white photography continues to mesmerize both advanced and beginner dSLR photographers. In future articles, I’ll look at some of the other compositional strategies that Michael Kenna uses, such as centered objects, repetition, reflection, and more. Michael Kenna is a British photographer best known for his black-and-white images of unpopulated landscapes and urban scenes. Learn from the masters and take your Photography to the next level. And he mainly uses Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras, accounting for the square format of most of his photographs. The eye is drawn by the lines which generally stretch from the foreground to the distance. In the distance, there is a dark, cloudy sky that attracts the eye, but the diagonal line of the pier pulls the viewer back down toward the bottom of the photo. The black mass on the center-left of the frame heads toward the top right, yet stops almost dead center in the frame. There is a bit of relief visible in the snow, and the way the fence turns to finish its journey as a straight, vertical line is satisfying. Photogpedia covers everything from photography style to what cameras they used to their best photos. Michael Kenna's quiet approach to the environment provides a glimpse into the provocative and subtle serenity of landscape photography. Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, England in 1953. As he photographs on a Hasselblad which has a square format, a vast number of his images … Large Prints. Enter your email address to subscribe to Kirkville and receive notifications of new posts by email. I use photography as a vessel for visual material to flow through, to encourage conversation with the viewer. These shadows can invite us to imagine what is hidden. And this is the lightest part; it’s not by coincidence. During the day, when most photographs are made, scenes are usually viewed from the vantage-point of a fixed single light source, the sun. Michael … The color jumping up and down to get noticed and obscuring the structure, which to me is the most important part of a photo. This is about as close to Kenna's style as I've come: As for technique, I don't do anything special for black and white. Japan / Buddha exhibition. The images get more interesting. Four Birds, St. Nazaire, France 2000 is a striking minimal photo, with three bold, dark lines arising from the bottom of the frame, leading the eye to three birds sitting at the ends of poles (dead center in the frame). This accumulation of time and events, impossible for the human eye to take in, can be recorded on film. Since about 1986 he has mainly used Hasselblad … The viewer can then wonder where it goes, and what’s on the other side of the hill. //. Rather, many factors, experiences and decisions, great and small, brought me to the life path I have been on for the past 45 years. It’s that enigma, that illusion, that use of our own creative imagination that’s very important to me.". In this post, I'll be dissecting Kenna's photos, explaining why his I think his photos work, how it's done, and finally, show some of my attempts at … View 12 Great Photographs By Michael Kenna. It is an attempt to evoke and suggest through as few elements as possible rather than to describe with tremendous detail.” – Michael Kenna, “It’s possible to think of photography as an act of editing, a matter of where you put your rectangle pull it out or take it away. “I do have strong convictions and political opinions, but I don’t think it’s necessary to imbue my photographic work with them. This is a very simple image, but it represents the most typical use of leading lines in Kenna’s photography. The results are soft, stark, enigmatic views of gardens, industrial sites, … Ginza Fugestudo, Tokyo, Japan. For the photographer, real can become surreal, which is exciting. The result of his efforts can be seen in two books, Hokkaido (2006) and Japan(2002), both published by Nazraeli Press. As the eye perceives these birds, it then spots the fourth bird, to the left, it flight, looking almost ephemeral. In 1953, Michael Kenna was born in Lancashire, England, into an Irish Catholic family. Honkyoku: Learning to play the shakuhachi. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), The Composition of Michael Kenna’s Photographs: Leading Lines, interview him for the PhotoActive podcast, 45-Year Retrospective Exhibition at Bosham Gallery, Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review Recordings, New Security and Privacy Features in macOS Catalina and iOS 13. One thing I took away from our discussion – both during the interview and afterwards – was the carefully refined composition of his photos. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. 1953) is an English photographer acclaimed for his elegant black-and-white photographs of landscapes. The blurry white water, shot with a long exposure, adds mystery to the end of the slipway, and the viewer can see a bit of darkness near the end of the slipway where it has been wet by the water. In B&W the structure jumps out instead. Kenna presents these pathways, directions, and stages for viewers in many of his photos that use leading lines. His books include Forms of Japan and Rouge, which is a study of the US industrial heartland. There is also a light section near the center of the photo, a "question mark.". The aspect of unpredictability inherent with night exposures can also be a good antidote for previsualization…” – Michael Kenna, “When exposures last hours rather than fractions of a second, there is much time for watching. The Rouge, by, and autographed Michael Kenna Can I eat that or is that going to eat me?). Leading lines don’t always have to be straight lines, and can sometimes be implied by elements of a photo. One advances by “standing on the shoulders of giants”. For me it’s the act of photographing. It would be problematic for me to photograph in another style. There is often a sense of drama, a story about to be told, secrets revealed, actors about to enter onto the stage. So I think that’s why, a long time ago, I consciously tried to let go of artist’s angst, and instead just hope for the best and enjoy it. Michael Kenna is one of the most important living black and white landscape photographers. He has a silent approach to photographing the environment, scenery, landscapes and anything around him. His images are simple and quiet, empty but for the bare minimum of visual elements. “Photographers are driven creatures” says Michael Kenna. However, art quickly became his strongest subject and at the age of 17 he moved to Banbury School of Art in Oxfordshire. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. His unique minimalist imagery has inspired many, and earned him a huge and loyal following. If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d still be a traveler.” – Michael Kenna, “There are many characteristics associated with night photography that make it fascinating. Michael Kenna is one of the most important living black and white landscape photographers. So I think a color photo works best if color is a just a highlight or if the photo is only about the color. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. First Ward Alderman in Chicago from 1897-1923. And an evolutionarily newer color one that cues on the meaning of a color in context defined biologically (red blood) or culturally (red light). After further study in London, he worked as a commercial photographer and printer before relocating to the USA. Drama is usually increased with the resulting deep shadows from artificial lights. I’m interested in the places where people have lived, worked and played. Other artists, in many mediums, have greatly helped my own development as a photographer. It’s the very peculiarities and imperfections in this traditional approach that he works within to make calm images imbued with an almost tangible amount of solitude. Michael creates dream-like scenes by combining innovative and traditional photographic techniques. 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