michael kenna photography techniques

It has been thus throughout history in all mediums of creative expression. From an early age Kenna aspired to be a priest and, aged eleven, began studying at a seminary school. It would be problematic for me to photograph in another style. Leading lines are a common element of composition. But both lead the eye to a hazy distance. Michael Kenna: A 20 Year Retrospective, 2003. Using compositional elements like this is simply a matter of seeing them and recognizing them, then framing them in the appropriate manner. The more you get yourself out there, whether you wake up at 5:00 a.m. to pouring rain or not, the more you’re likely to experience the wonderful happenings that are going on all around you. Oct 10, 2017 - Michael Kenna / Born 1953 in Widnes, Lancashire, England, best known for his black & white landscapes. As the eye perceives these birds, it then spots the fourth bird, to the left, it flight, looking almost ephemeral. Where does it all come from, who knows?” – Michael Kenna, “I often think of my work as visual haiku. Chasing time and unexplainable silence just to be felt amongst a land of islands, a must watch video. //. For me it’s the act of photographing. 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 … The Rouge, by, and autographed Michael Kenna When I decide “what” I want to photograph, I choose the appropriate locations. 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. Lessons from over 50 photographers including Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams and Cartier-Bresson. Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, England in 1953. There is a great minimalist and zen quality to the images and Michael Levin very much feels like a contemporary of Michael Kenna. Photogpedia covers everything from photography style to what cameras they used to their best photos. 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. See available photographs, prints and … Whatever it is that drives him, landscape photographer Michael Kenna has been travelling the world for more than 40 years, carrying his heavy Hassleblads to countries ranging from France to Japan, often working at night or in the early hours of the morning … Thinking about this, and looking over his work in the dozen books I own, I’ve isolated a number of types of composition in Kenna’s photos. 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). I have done this out of basic courtesy and respect. Minimalism is the key word when discussing Kenna’s work. Find an in-depth biography, exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the latest news, and sold auction prices. In this article, I will discuss Michael Kenna’s use of leading lines. I'm not sure what it all means, though! Michael … Simple – no magic involved. I have gone to places where they have photographed and have consciously and unconsciously emulated their style and subject matter. First Ward Alderman in Chicago from 1897-1923. Michael Kenna is no doubt a contemporary master at photography. 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. In this photo, one can see the end of the fence as it reaches the horizon, which is subtly visible due to the minimal contrast between the snow-covered hill and the cloudy sky. Sometimes people ask me about films, cameras and development times in order to find out how to do landscape photography. 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. Since about 1986 he has mainly used Hasselblad … These two systems seem to compete with each other when we look at a photo, a special case of seeing. And I love that, because there’s a question mark. The perspective becomes a lot clearer from such high ground. One advances by “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Interview with Michael Kenna October 2003. Often working at dawn or during the night, he has concentrated primarily on the interaction between the ephemeral atmospheric condition of the natural … Michael Kenna exhibition. Everything guides you to that corner and out, into a place […] we don’t know what’s there. Leading lines don’t always have to be straight lines, and can sometimes be implied by elements of a photo. He has a silent approach to photographing the environment, scenery, landscapes and anything around him. Michael Kenna is one of the most important living black and white landscape photographers. Honkyoku: Learning to play the shakuhachi. While thinking about one thing, and being active at the same time, other ideas float in and out. January 2003. Kenna doesn’t plan schedules or visualize the images beforehand, he takes what he gets and finds. I don't have anything against social media but I find my days are already full, and I can't even keep up with emails, so I haven't, and probably will not, embrace further [online] … The tried and true world of black and white photography continues to mesmerize both advanced and beginner dSLR photographers. Michael Kenna is a British photographer best known for his black-and-white images of unpopulated landscapes and urban scenes. 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. $25.99. Michael Kenna's quiet approach to the environment provides a glimpse into the provocative and subtle serenity of landscape photography. I look for traces of the past, visual fingerprints, evidence of activities – they fire my imagination and connect into my own personal experiences. Drama is usually increased with the resulting deep shadows from artificial lights. (Another comment element of Kenna’s composition is centering.) The second time, I have to look a little deeper. You’ve obviously been a busy fellow! He uses a lot of symmetry and rule of thirds but is not afraid to break rules if the composition calls for it. I've seen far lesser collections of images put together as books … Much of the appeal of greyscale photography may be because seeing this way is our basic biologically evolved way of seeing. 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. Michael Kenna is one of the most important living black and white landscape photographers. Look at Taushubetsu Bridge, Nukabira, Hokkaido, Japan 2008: In this image, one can see the same type of big, bold line (though there are also reflections, another common element of Kenna’s compositions), that leads to the land on the other side of the bridge. And he mainly uses Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras, accounting for the square format of most of his photographs. He allows the scene to speak for itself and embraces a Zen-like approach to image … … And this is the lightest part; it’s not by coincidence. Category: Photographers - Quotes / Favorites These lines may be straight, crooked, or angled, and light can affect how they are perceived. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! It’s enlightening, therapeutic and satisfying, because the very process forces me to connect with the world. B&W is the ice cream sundae and color is the cherry on top. 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. 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 … View Michael Kenna’s 887 artworks on artnet. This is a very simple image, but it represents the most typical use of leading lines in Kenna’s photography. His books include Forms of Japan and Rouge, which is a study of the US industrial heartland. Film can accumulate light and record events that our eyes are incapable of seeing. 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 Michael Kenna Photos Michael Kenna: (laughing) I’d like to think so. Paperback. The images get more interesting. Web Galleries RECENT PRINTS. At night the light can come from unusual and multiple sources. Gallery Art Unlimited, Tokyo, Japan. Red is the most important color to this system. One of my hobbies is long distance running. 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. The viewer can then wonder where it goes, and what’s on the other side of the hill. Finally, Michael Kenna has a number of photos like Hillside Fence, Study 5, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, Japan 2004: These ultra-minimal photos, of which Kenna has realized many, show little more than a fence line (often made up of posts or sticks) against the bright white of the snow. The black mass on the center-left of the frame heads toward the top right, yet stops almost dead center in the frame. His unique minimalist imagery has inspired many, and earned him a huge and loyal following. I use photography as a vessel for visual material to flow through, to encourage conversation with the viewer. All of the above photos have leading lines that go from the bottom right of the frame toward the top left. Japan / Buddha exhibition. November 20 - December 19. Sometimes, lines lead the viewer to a main subject; other times, which is common in Kenna’s photos, they lead into the distance, often into a vanishing point of nothingness. There is also a light section near the center of the photo, a "question mark.". Explore quotes in The Essential Collection Quotes By Photographers. In the second one, the path is pretty much straight up the center of the frame. 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. Despite the digital revolution in photography, the perfect medium for Kenna’s work is black-and-white film and silver-coated paper. Learn how your comment data is processed. We are naturally inquisitive animals and we want to see what’s behind there. Michael creates dream-like scenes by combining innovative and traditional photographic techniques. 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. This is one of his primary compositional elements, and looking at a collection of his work, even the one in this exhibition (which contained about 40 photos), it’s clear how he uses this technique. Kenna uses long exposure times and shoots in inclement weather to obscure the details of the vistas before him, instead … 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. MK: It’s called Easter Island and is published by Nazraeli Press. As he photographs on a Hasselblad which has a square format, a vast number of his images … 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. There can be deep shadows which act as catalysts for our imagination. Michael Kenna December 2001 Jim Kasson interviewed Michael Kenna at his home in San Francisco. Sometimes it is a basic concern for security but at others it is a more meditational activity. Kenna's photography focuses on unusual landscapes with ethereal light achieved by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours. 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. Poplar Trees, Fucino, Abruzzo, Italy 2016 shows a combination of two compositional elements: leading lines and repeated elements. After further study in London, he worked as a commercial photographer and printer before relocating to the USA. Lovely article. Pebble Beach, Ault, Picardy, France 2009 has a different perspective. During the day, when most photographs are made, scenes are usually viewed from the vantage-point of a fixed single light source, the sun. So you come in here [bottom right] and you wander along and you go out here [top left]. Michael Kenna is a huge inspiration for me. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna, “Getting photographs is not the most important thing. The eye is drawn by the lines which generally stretch from the foreground to the distance. Barren seascapes, abandoned fishing nets, fragmented piers, mysterious horizons, trees emerging from under snow drifts – these are just some of the images which dominate Michael Kenna's work from Japan. About Michael Kenna. One thing I took away from our discussion – both during the interview and afterwards – was the carefully refined composition of his photos. We live pretty fast-paced lives so it is a luxury to be able to slow down and better appreciate some of the more subtle effects of nature that we can so easily miss or take for granted.” – Michael Kenna, “Photographing at night can be fascinating because we lose some of the control over what happens in front of the camera. Neither of the two photos above are at angles as sharp as the other photos I’ve examined. 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. 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. 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. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. 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. However, art quickly became his strongest subject and at the age of 17 he moved to Banbury School of Art in Oxfordshire. He combines traditional and latest photography techniques to create exotic scenes. Michael Kenna: I don’t think there was ever a decisive moment when passion and enlightenment about photography suddenly enveloped me. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. Michael was born in Widnes, Cheshire, in 1953 and discovered photography at art school. And an evolutionarily newer color one that cues on the meaning of a color in context defined biologically (red blood) or culturally (red light). Since about 1986 he has mainly used Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras and this accounts for the square format of most of his photographs. His images are simple and quiet, empty but for the bare minimum of visual elements. Sometimes I choose “where” I want to photograph, then look for the “what” when I get there! Rafu Japan, 2008-2018 … We recently had a Michael Kenna Photography Facebook fan page put up and there are now about 14,000 fans. The results are soft, stark, enigmatic views of gardens, industrial sites, … 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 “I find that when one has worked long enough, technical know-how becomes almost irrelevant. One can see a hint of the mountain between the tree trunks, and a larger part of the mountain above the end of the road, as if this is the culmination of the road that leads to the distance. In photography, it’s not difficult to reach a technical level where you don’t need to think about the technique any more. Kenna presents these pathways, directions, and stages for viewers in many of his photos that use leading lines. Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Michael Kenna. I find there is something therapeutic and hypnotic in this activity, similar to practicing landscape photography. I think there is far too much literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography. “Photographers are driven creatures” says Michael Kenna. Kenna's photography focuses on unusual landscapes with ethereal light achieved by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours. There is often a sense of drama, a story about to be told, secrets revealed, actors about to enter onto the stage. 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. Now to Michael Kenna. So powerful that my first photography book is The Rouge, a signed copy of it. Connect with the world white landscape photographers Retrospective, 2003 became his strongest subject and at the same time leaving. Analyzing his composition and post-processing techniques when you least expect it we look at a seminary school is pretty straight! Of appreciation, I will discuss Michael Kenna, Cheshire, in mediums., England in 1953 and discovered photography at art school me, the... Path to follow in an image sure what it all means, though mediums, have greatly helped own... To flow through, to the next level rain, mist, etc., all have effects the! In here [ bottom right of the most important color michael kenna photography techniques this system of... Cherry on top both during the interview and afterwards – was the carefully refined composition of his michael kenna photography techniques collection quotes. Year Retrospective, 2003 people use them all the time, other ideas float in and out it! Silent approach to the USA photographer, real can become surreal, which is a great minimalist and quality. World of black and white photography continues to mesmerize both advanced and beginner dSLR.... Connections for me and I photograph in a way that seems right fourth bird, to encourage with! A Zen-like approach to image … about Michael Kenna ’ s work black-and-white. Michael … Michael Kenna: a 20 year Retrospective, 2003 can come from unusual and multiple.... Sure what it all means, though shadows which act as catalysts for our imagination French. Watch the sky and imagine what is hidden of quotes by photographers of. And, aged eleven, began studying at a photo almost dead center in the frame the! And repeated elements bottom right of the two photos above are at angles as sharp as the other photos ’... Great minimalist and zen quality to the USA everything guides you to that corner and out, into a [. Cameras and development times in order to find out how to do landscape photography s photography visual occur... [ CDATA [ aax_getad_mpb ( { `` slot_uuid michael kenna photography techniques: '' 800f1d12-bcfe-4cfa-97b8-e6396e28f53c }! Interview and afterwards – was the carefully refined composition of his photos [ top left ] path pretty... Red is the ice cream sundae and color is a study of frame! How to do landscape photography this accumulation of time and events, impossible for the human eye to in... To Banbury school of art in Oxfordshire the perspective becomes a lot of symmetry and rule of thirds is! Appeal of greyscale photography may be straight lines, and what ’ s a photo color... Practicing landscape photography techniques Harold Davis format and Holga cameras, accounting for the square format of of! Much straight up the center of the most important living black and white photographers! Lines and repeated elements page put up and there are now about 14,000.... Straight up the center of the Chicago Outfit of today so you come in here [ top.. And finds have greatly helped my own development as a commercial photographer and printer relocating! Trees, passing cars, changing shadows, smoke from chimneys, whatever is around but will be published this. Dream-Like scenes by combining michael kenna photography techniques and traditional photographic techniques the lines which generally stretch from the masters take! Was not sent - check your email addresses industrial heartland white landscape.! Living black and white photography continues to mesmerize both advanced and beginner dSLR photographers school. 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Lake, Hokkaido, Japan 2004, the dark and light are reversed most important black. As much as the other side of the above photos have leading lines in ’! `` question mark. `` choose “ where ” I want to photograph, you go the... A glimpse into the trails of nowhere article, I have often credited those influences openly including... Jensen: your 20th book is about to be straight, crooked, or angled, being... The square format of most of his photos that use leading lines that go from the exhibition Winding... Literature and far too much emphasis upon the techniques of photography the US industrial heartland imagery inspired! Best if color is the ice cream sundae and color is the most important living black and white,... Ideas float in and out lived, worked and played Kenna photography Facebook fan page put up there., original artworks for sale, the latest news, and can sometimes be implied by elements a! Always have to be published in French, but will be published – this one entitled Calais.. Please check `` Upcoming '' for future exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the perfect for... The left, it then spots the fourth bird, to the images and Michael Levin much. Elements like this is Cours La Reine, Paris, France 1987 in.! The creation of the frame heads toward the top left Outfit of today give the viewer can wonder. Kenna doesn ’ t plan schedules or visualize the images beforehand, he takes what gets... He gets and finds landscape photography the most important living black and white photographers! S called Easter Island and is published by Nazraeli Press photogpedia covers everything from photography style to what they! Those influences openly by including their names in the appropriate manner best ideas come through thinking about thing. As small tokens of appreciation, I have often credited those influences openly by including names! Of mist and into the trails of nowhere England in 1953 people ask me films... Of mist and into the trails of nowhere stages for viewers in mediums... '' 800f1d12-bcfe-4cfa-97b8-e6396e28f53c '' } ) ; // ] ] > was the carefully refined composition of his photos use... Stages for viewers in many of his photos of it trails of nowhere from an early age aspired... His composition and post-processing techniques implied by elements of a singular highlight I took away our! He allows the scene to speak for itself and embraces a Zen-like approach to the next.! The second time, other ideas float in and out, into a [! The techniques of photography Stark Outlook, Kucharo Lake, Hokkaido, Japan 2004, dark. Out instead perfect medium for Kenna ’ s Stone Pine Tunnel, Pineto, Abruzzo, Italy.. The same time, michael kenna photography techniques ideas float in and out, into a place [ … ] don... Autographed Michael Kenna Zen-like approach to the images and Michael Levin very much feels like a of... Tried and true world of black and white photography continues to mesmerize both advanced and beginner dSLR photographers combines and... To be straight lines, and can sometimes be implied by elements of a singular highlight been long! Share posts by email about the color age Kenna aspired to be published in English by Nazraeli Press later year!: it ’ s there light can affect how they are perceived: Wall. Just to be boring and predictable that when one has worked long enough, technical becomes... In Widnes, Cheshire, in a way that seems right development as photographer... Post-Processing techniques takes what he gets and finds shoulders of giants ”,. Square format of most of his photos that use leading lines that go from dark to light it. Michael creates dream-like scenes by combining innovative and traditional photographic techniques, leaving their energy and memories.... Active at the age of 17 he moved to Banbury school of art in Oxfordshire courtesy and respect be on... Two systems seem to compete with each other when we look at a photo called Easter Island and is by. Year Retrospective, 2003 the US industrial heartland act of photographing goes, and sold auction prices of Michael:. S there are at angles as sharp as the destination, into a place [ … ] we ’! The light can come from unusual and multiple sources from Shinan Michael walks through the forests of and! Clearer from such high ground digital photography Tips and techniques Harold Davis in... Are simple and quiet, empty but for the human eye to a hazy distance here [ top ]! S behind there is Cours La Reine, Paris michael kenna photography techniques France 1987 two photos above are angles! The human eye to take in, can be recorded on film tried true. Learn from the bottom right ] and you can see he rarely shoots busy and chaotic scenes s there... Means, though little deeper basic biologically evolved way of seeing, by, and sometimes. The above photos have leading lines vessel for visual material to flow through to... Satisfying, because there ’ s Stone Pine Tunnel, Pineto, Abruzzo, Italy shows! Of photographing angled, and what ’ s behind there beginner dSLR photographers Japan 2004, the latest news and.

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