Artist Statement: Why I Shoot Black & White Figures

What I love about black and white film photography . . .

Our eyes and brains have evolved to notice subtle patterns of light and shadow, a skill that can be useful for spotting dangerous animals lurking in the darkness or contemplating the undulating forms of the human figure.

What I love about black and white photographs—and Platinum prints in particular—is their unique potential to convey strong emotional messages while inviting the eye to pore over an almost infinite scale of rich tones from highlight to shadow.

The nude is a timeless subject uniquely capable of exhibiting both strength and vulnerability at the same time. The female figure is a symbol of our essential humanity in my work.

I shoot professional figure models in black and white with vintage medium format cameras. I digitize the film, then, edit and print new enlarged negatives using a modern system of software and inks known as Piezography for digital negatives or PiezoDN.

In the final step, I make Platino-Palladiotype contact prints capable of revealing remarkable shadow detail—a process that was patented in 1873—thus connecting my work with the early roots of photography.

Do you shoot black & white photographs, too? Are you shooting with film and old cameras or using digital? Leave your story in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up to be one of my studio insiders with VIP access: Sign Up here and be sure to follow me on Facebook to learn about new work, limited editions, and monthly giveaways.

Mark Laurence LaRivière

Mark Laurence LaRivière

I'm a fine art painter and photographer who is always seeking to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.

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