Black and White Photography by Michael Kenna

Black and White Photography by Michael Kenna 8

Michael Kenna is one of the most popular and influential landscape photographers of the last 50 years. His unique minimalist imagery has inspired many, and earned him a huge and loyal following. And he mainly uses Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras, accounting for the square format of most of his photographs.

He is drawn to certain times of day and night, preferring to photograph in the mist, rain and snow clear blue sky and sunshine simply do not seem to inspire him. He only photographs his work in black and white, as he believes that, “Black and white is immediately more mysterious because we see in colour all the time. It is quieter than colour.” And he looks for interesting compositions within the landscape.

Elegant. Serene. Meditative. This is why I was first attracted to Michael Kenna’s work. Since the early 1990s, I have built a substantial collection of his photographic prints. I am still captivated by the mystery of his night images and the sophisticated simplicity of his landscapes. One also has to admire his personal dedication to the fine craft of making flawless, impeccable prints. Like Kenna, I am drawn to the brilliant work of Bill Brandt, Joseph Sudek, Alfred Stieglitz and Harry Callahan. The influence of these artists, along with his own interpretive style, creates a brilliant serenity that captivates me with every image“, wrote Sir Elton John, a long-term collector of his photographs.

Kenna currently lives in Seattle, but he continues to travel the world producing new work day after day. Do note that his photographs are part of quite a few permanent collections at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


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