Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Shades Of Wildlife
South African photographer Heinrich van den Berg strips his dramatic wildlife images of color to create dimension and add emotion. They’re stunning, graphic, refined and evocative.
"I believe that if black-and-white photography is done correctly," van den Berg says, "it can convey much more emotion and a deeper meaning than color ever could. It's as if by subtracting color, the viewer is forced to add his own emotion to the images. Color photography is like a novel that spells everything out in detail, whereas black-and-white photography is like poetry—its strength isn't in what's said; it's in what's left out."
"The more time one spends photographing in an area and spends photographing the same subject," van den Berg says, "the more one is able to peel away the clichéd way of seeing. It's very important to go through the process of first capturing the clichéd images before you can move on to a more creative level. But it's important to spend enough time to be able to move to that next level. With the first images on a shoot, the images are either too busy or too simple. It's only after spending some time with the subject that the images become graphically slick.
"I like simplicity in wildlife photography," he continues. "The most iconic images in history have been simple. I use a variety of lenses, and I love doing wildlife photography with wide-angle lenses to pull the viewer into the scene. I use Quantum Qflashes for my flash work. They're compact, durable and strong enough to give a bit of a studio light effect, even in the harsh African light. By using a variety of lenses to create different perspectives, as well as adding some flash light to the images, it's easier to create that studio effect."
"I believe that in the process of photographing," van den Berg says, "one needs to capture as much information with the camera as possible, in the most practical way. I would have loved to shoot in black-and-white, or with medium-format cameras, but by shooting in black-and-white, I'll be erasing digital color information on the shoot that I could probably use in the postprocessing."
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