25 Jun 2013

Inspiration: Adam Rowney

I would like to talk a bit about sources of inspiration today, starting off by introducing the work of my fellow photographer Adam Rowney.

These images are from his last publication. I love them because of their elegance, achieved by a clean composition and impeccable use of black and white. The lighting on these shots comes from a flashgun diffused by an umbrella – simple stuff done right: note how the light wraps around the model, the smooth transition between light and shadows which retain detail on the blacks, and the softness of those shadows. This is a beautiful example of Rembrandt lighting.

In an image like this, even nailing the tone of the background is important: you want something that is lighter than your shadows so that the model doesn’t blend in, but not as bright that it would compete with your light tones. Furthermore, Adam happened to use a red backdrop here, which once converted to black and white can give a good opportunity for fine-tuning the density of the tone without affecting the model’s face. I used a similar approach on my portrait of Katelin, and this could even be done with the lights by gelling them. Ideally, of course, you want to get this right on-camera by choosing the right shade to begin with, but the point is tone separation gives better control on the final black and white conversion.

So check out Adam’s work for more great images at http://www.adamrowney.com ! I’m hoping to write more in the future about the images I love and why I love them, to provide some background and motivation for my own work. I would also love to hear about your own sources of inspiration so please drop a line and share!


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