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May 25, 2004

B&W Fine Art Photographers With Unusually Fine Websites

There is no lack of superb photographers out there, and a large number of fine and flashy (and Flash-y) websites out there...but when it comes to black and white photography, though the situation is getting better, the intersection of photography and well designed personal websites is not always that elegant. This means the photographers must rely on the galleries representing them (if represented), and this is not usually that great a situation either, as most galleries' image presentation skills are perfunctory to poor.

Two fine examples of photographers who have taken care to present their black and white work well, both the personal work and commercial work, are Sally Gall and George Krause. I hope they're part of a trend and not an anomaly.

* Sally Gall's black and white work captures the distinct light, shadow and textures of subterranean regions. Her work is represented by several galleries and she is currently part of an exhibition (along with Michael Kenna) at the Joseph Bellows Gallery. From her biography:

"...with nothing but a flashlight to guide her way and illuminate lens settings, [Gall] photographed caves, lava tubes, quarries and aqueducts throughout the world. Gall has said she felt like the, discoverer of an undocumented realm of light that had somehow been overlooked by (herself), other photographers and painters as wellĂ®. Throughout her expeditions she encountered brutal weather conditions, corrosive acidic air and an acute case of malaria. The result of these struggles is the beautiful body of work entitled Subterranea. Her ethereal photographs capture the juxtaposition of light and dark, ambiguity and certainty, isolation and intimacy."

Gall's work can be found in many places online, but the best place to see it is on her own website, which features the classic categories of "commercial" and "fine art". Both are presented very well, and considering the limitations of presenting black and white on the web, Gall has conveyed the luminosity of her work far more effectively than most of her galleries. Water and soft white light are heavily featured in her work, and I enjoyed the "Subterranea" and "Between Worlds" galleries a great deal.

sallygall_oasis

"Oasis" Sally Gall image, from Subterranea series

* Over 40 years ago, at the age of 26, George Krause had images purchased by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) for their collection, and just a few years later, 30 of his images were part of an exhibition curated by John Szarkowski at MOMA, along with luminaries such as Minor White and Gary Winogrand. Thankfully, Krause didn't let his early success get to his head, and he continued to develop and has produced an unusually rich and varied portfolio of work since.

Most of this work is very well represented on his high quality website. The first work of his that I came across a while back were his unusual and distinctive Sfumato portraits...initially samey and monotonous, they grow in fascination with the diversity of faces and the odd, high key lighting which obscures as much as it reveals. Here are more details from a description of his current exhibition, which include more details about Krause and his portraits. An excerpt:

"Conventional black and white photography typically assumes that the principal features will be, literally highlighted, with the secondary features in degrees of shadow...the Sfumato portraits, by contrast, have the light source coming in at the back of the head with the light source, at a 45 degree angle, producing the strange effect whereby it is the principal features that are in shadow and the secondary features highlighted. Such is the intensity of this light in most of these portraits the outer limits of the heads have disappeared, so that the unframed features float disturbingly in a suggestive and destabilized space."

gkrausejacinda

"Jacinda" George Krause image, from Sfumato series

Past images and exhibitions are well summarized and presented with luster on Krause's web site...I liked a lot of "The Street" gallery, as well as "Qui Riposa". What's especially admirable about Krause is his continuous experimentation and refusal to be pigeonholed. Krause was featured and interviewed in a recent issue of Shots Magazine and had this to say in response to a question about common threads in his work:

"There is a tendency to pigeonhole artists. Many are often disappointed if an artist changes direction, or switches to another subject. With the introduction of every series, I was surprised to find a negative reaction toward the new body of work. The most negative reaction was when I began work on the I Nudi series. Even many friends and critics thought I had lost my mind. In time most found in this series, as in all the others, a common denominator, a thread that runs through all my work. There is a dark and somber side to much of my work that I try to counter with a sense of humor. I am more interested in working with the emotional and psychological interpretation of the elements of the image and less with formal."

krause-3x1

"Eternal Eye" George Krause image

While Krause is right on regarding the psychological elements of his work and the resulting emotional impact, he undersells its formal qualities, which are quite rich and should appeal to many audiences. Definitely worth a look. (A short article on Krause from an exhibition a few years ago can be found here).

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Comments

I think its ok but try to make it a little bit more interesting.It was a little to plan for me,But Can you come and look at my coincedencs.I'm trying to write a book about coincedencs,Can you come and look at my book on my myspace paige the URL is myspace.com/kayla_phresh...THANKS;)

Posted by: kayla at Nov 24, 2008 1:58:12 PM

Hey i didn't really read this but um can you guys add my myspace page i need new friends and yes its the real shina AKA shine!!...
Myspace.com/shine_sofresh..AND please send comments or you guys will be deleted!!...

Posted by: Shine at Nov 24, 2008 2:01:31 PM