Black and White Challenge – A selection

A few weeks ago we put out an appeal in our LFI Gallery, asking you to dig through your archives to take part in our Black and White Challenge, and to send us your best moments between black and white. The response was lively: in the shortest of time we received all kinds of artistic perspectives, quiet portraits and unusual outlooks, expressed in monochrome beauty. All these images confirm that black and white photography continues to enjoy great popularity.

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Black and White Challenge – A selection
more at LFI Gallery

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Strike a pose! | What defines fashion photography?

Fashion photography has developed to become an indisputable form of artistic photography and creative expression, not to be casually written-off as only commercial photography. Finding one’s creative thesis through fashion photography requires a strong conceptual idea, followed by a series of important design directions: do you work alone with the model or do you need assistants? Should you stay in the studio or go out on location? Do you use natural or artificial light, or both?

Try out a number of locations; don’t underestimate the importance of the work of make-up artists; use original props; and look for inspiration in stories, films and the established masters of fashion photography.

The streets of Paris are among the most popular settings for a fashion photo shoot. This picture could also have been taken at a Parisian street café, however – like the other pictures in the series – it was taken at the Leitz Park, a location that has become a favorite for photographers because of its diverse architecture. The picture’s impact is caused by the tension between the haunting look in the model’s eyes, the reflection of the window pane, and the slanted framing.
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A large part of fashion photography deals with beauty portraiture. In addition to the model’s flawless appearance, achieved through the work of the stylist and later perfected during post-processing, the photographer’s creativity also plays a large role. Props, such as the lily in this case, can add elegance to a portrait. Other visual effects and the color palette can further underline the photographer’s individual style.
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During a fashion shoot, props can be an important and popular element for enhancing a picture. Combined with specific lighting applications, they can produce or strengthen interesting visual effects. The umbrella used here corresponds very nicely with the creases in the garment, creating a fascinating image plane in front of the dark background that stands in contrast to the quiet expression on the model’s face.
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The reduction of the image content, lit up by a pleasant, soft daylight, is what makes this very lovely composition stand out. In particular, it is the contrast between the fair hair and the dark background that lends it an elegant touch. The discreet colors of the clothing and the right pose in relationship to the model’s eyes – in this case avoiding looking directly into the camera – ensure that the picture acquires the feeling of a classic fashion photo.
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A certain type of artistic photography can also be considered fashion photography. In this genre, photographers like to include abstract and impressionist elements. The picture here is an example of a composition where tension is created by the use of lighting, the styling (make-up) and the post-processing that followed. The reflections and mirror effects draw the viewer into a fairy-tale world, enhanced by strokes of light.
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Strike a pose!
What defines fashion photography?
by Christoph Gellert & Jean Noir

more at Leica

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Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2018

These are the twelve finalists of LOBA 2018. Thanks again to all participants!

Mary Gelman, Svetlana
In her personal projects, such as “Svetlana”, Mary Gelman specialises in issues such as sexual identity, sexuality, violence and discrimination.
Mary Gelman was born in St. Petersburg in 1994, where she attended DocDocDoc Photography School. Her work has appeared in different Russian media, including Sobaka.ru and lenta.ru, as well as international publications such as the Washington Post and Buzzfeed. In 2017 she won first place at the Istanbul Photo Awards in the Portraits category.
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Daniel Chatard, Niemandsland
Daniel Chartard’s “Niemandsland” (No man’s land) documents the tense, conflict-laden situation existing between environmental activists, on the one hand, and the brown coal industry in the Rhein district, on the other.
Daniel Chatard was born in Heidelberg in 1996, and, after graduating from high school, studied Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. His work to date has earned him the German Youth Photography Award and the BFF Award.
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Christian Werner, Road to Ruin
Christian Werner’s reportages tell emotional stories about the harsh realities of life in conflict zones. “Road to Ruin” – taken following the fall of Aleppo – shows different stations along the way during a trip through Bashar al Assad’s Syria.
Christian Werner was born in Hanover in 1987. He studied Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at college there. His work appears in magazines such as Spiegel, the Washington Post and LFI.
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Samuel Gratacap, Presence
Samuel Gratacap’s work moves between photo journalism and visual art. Since 2007, Gratacap has been documenting the lives of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean. In his “Presence” series, he brings together images from both sides of the Mediterranean for the first time. For this purpose, he photographed in Italy, Tunisia and Libya.
Samuel Gratacap was born in 1982 and studied Art at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Marseille.
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Stephen Dock, Architecture of Violence
The fear of peace and the aftermath of war in a country: this is what interested Stephen Dock about Ireland and launched his “Architecture of Violence” project in 2012.
Stephen Dock studied Photography in Lyon and works as a photojournalist for various French magazines. He is interested in dysfunctional societies and photographs conflict zones such as the West Bank, Syria and Mali.
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Vanja Bucan, Sequences of Truth and Deception
In ihrer Serie “Sequences of Truth and Deception” beschäftigt sich Vanja Bucan mit unserem ambivalenten Verhältnis zur Natur, das, wie sie sagt, von Dominanz, Ausbeutung und Idealisierung geprägt sei. In Porträts und Stillleben versucht Bucan eine vielschichtige und dekonstruierte Vision der Natur zu erzeugen.
Vanja Bucan wurde 1973 in Nova Gorica, Slowenien, geboren. Sie lebt und arbeitet derzeit in Berlin.
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Turi (Salvatore) Calafato, Amuninni ‘u mari (Let’s go to the sea)
In summertime, Sicilians move their lives to the beaches. With his “Amuninni ’u mari” (Let’s go to the sea) series, Turi Calafato observes people in their daily sea-side activities, documenting the colourful hustle and bustle on the beaches.
Turi (Salvatore) Calafato was born in 1979. He lives and works as a free-lance photographer in Italy.
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Elsa Stubbé, Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin
Elsa Stubbé’s work gives wings to the viewer’s imagination, demanding a new definition of our perception of the environment. Her current project “Les extraterrestres ont mangé mon jardin” (Extraterrestrials have eaten my garden) presents surreal images of nature full of hidden poetry, where she explores the borderline between photographic and conceptual art.
Elsa Stubbé received her Masters in Publishing from the Royal Academy of Beaux Arts in Brussels, and has already self-published three books. She has exhibited in Brussels, Marseilles and Liege.
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Max Pinckers, Red Ink
Pinckers wants his work to explore the degree to which photography actually reflects reality. This also applies to his current project, “Red Ink”, that he photographed under strict surveillance in North Korea, and where he plays very specifically with the viewer’s perception.
Max Pinckers’ work moves between visual storytelling, documentary photography and sheer aesthetics. He was already a finalist for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 2016.
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Stéphane Lavoué, On the Edge of the World
In “On the Edge of the World”, Lavoué tells the story of the fishing industry through the eyes of those who remain on shore: the women in the canning factories, and the workers that produce tons of ice for storing the fish.
Stéphane Lavoué was born in 1976 and initially graduated in Engineering. He was a finalist for the Leica Oscar Barnack Award in 2016, and winner of the Prix Niépce in 2018.
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Kechun Zhang, Between Mountains and Water
The interaction between people and nature is one of Kechun Zhang’s favourite subjects. In “Between Mountains and Water” he deals with two natural phenomena that touch people’s emotions in China in particular. With his images, he creates documentary artefacts that appear to halt the high- speed passage of time for a brief moment.
Kechun Zhang was born in Sichuan in 1980. After participating in numerous international photo festivals, his work was exhibited in the USA, Canada and China. The photographer currently lives in the Chinese metropolis of Chengdu.
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Ernesto Benavides, Dredges
Every year, a number of hectares of Peruvian forest are lost to illegal gold mining. Benavides’s “Dredges” series presents impressive aerial photographs of this destructive exploitation of nature.
In addition to his own photo projects, Benavides works for the France Press Agency, and is published regularly in the international press. He has been teaching photography at the University of Lima since 2010.
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Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2018
more images from the 12 finalists at Leica

Special Gallery by Daniel J. Cox | Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 Asph. Power O.I.S.

Special Gallery by Daniel J. Cox
Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

DanielJCox05a“Bosque del Apache is a premier waterfowl area in North America. Each year, starting in October, hundreds of thousands of snow geese and tens of thousands of sandhill cranes typically migrate to this location to spend the winter. I chose Bosque del Apache for the number of birds I would have access to. Although this season the numbers of birds are down, due to warm weather in the northern part of the US, there were still an ample number of subjects to test the new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.(H-RS100400).”

DanielJCox05b“Auto focus accuracy and speed with the new Leica 100-400mm and the Lumix GX8 as well as the GH4 was exceptional. There’s not much I have to say about this since it was so good. The speed is rocket fast and generally very accurate. I’m guessing future cameras will make this lens even more impressive.”

DanielJCox05cSpecial Gallery by Daniel J. Cox
Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 Asph. Power O.I.S.

DanielJCox05dcontinue at panasonic

The New Leica SL by Ben Franke

Ben Franke is a New York-based German/American photographer, whose work focuses on movement across a range of athletic disciplines. Since 2008, Franke has been photographing parkour athletes, and began his ongoing series Parkour Motion in 2012. With this series, he aims to capture the energy and power of parkour athletes’ movements in a single still image. In the past year his work has appeared in The New York Times and was chosen for American Photography 30 and AP 31 editions. Here he talks about his recent use of the new Leica SL.

BenFranke10a BenFranke10b BenFranke10c… Q: There’s a ton of movement in the images. What is the white powder used? Can you tell us more about the decision to use this and how you achieved these shots? What was the inspiration behind it? Would you call this a signature look of some of your motion work?

A: The white powder is regular baking flour from the grocery store. My inspiration came from similar shots I had seen done with dancers in a studio, as well as the Holi Festival where colored powder is thrown. I wanted to apply that idea to parkour and shoot it outdoors, since parkour generally takes place in an outdoor environment. I suppose you could call this my signature look.

Ben Franke: Capturing Parkour Athletes with the Leica SL
more at: leica-camera