Michael Kenna Style

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Marc Leest, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    Hello,

    I am looking for photographers who photograph in the style of Michael Kenna. I know Rolfe Horne, but maybe other interesting photographers as well ?
     
  2. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    Michael Levin
    Dennis Olivier
    Josef Hoflehner
    Hakan Strand

    The people above are quite similar in style; and some more so than others. There are plenty more, but I can't think at the moment.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Look for usually square format, often low light, long exposure images with strong graphic elements and a minimum of "business". Kenna's photographs are lightly sepia toned, and often allow quite visible grain. They are also remarkable in being about 8 inches square in an era that welcomes much, much larger prints (Hoflehner makes prints up to 40" square I think...or somewhat near that size if I'm not totally accurate.). He also continues to photograph with film and use traditional analog processes for his prints.

    Besides the photographers listed above, Adrian Davis, and David Fokos also work in a similar way (although with much larger, and often digital prints.) There are some folks here on APUG who also could loosely be identified as of that "school" if you will.

    I love his work, and have studied "Retrospecitve Two" constantly for the half year I've owned the book. I've also seen his work in person at the AIPAD show. If you can get to a show like that, you'll likely get to see his work this year as well.
     
  4. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    Interesting that there is visible grain in a 8 inch print from a 6x6 neg...
     
  5. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    Just one question:

    why is it that some of these photographers have almost the EXACT type of work that Kenna produces? I like looking at other people's work, but when I see people who obviously, and blatantly emulate someone, it somewhat lessens the experience(for me) of looking at their work.

    now, granted, they are extremely talented photographers/printers(those who print analog). I have never had a chance to see a Kenna in person, but I hope to sometime soon.

    so: are these other guys just "fanboys" of Michael Kenna, "groupies" so to speak?

    -Dan
     
  6. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Well, Rolfe Horn was Kenna's assistant, so apparently it was a big influence on him.

    Jon
     
  7. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Instead of asking who is copying whom among photographers, it may be more appropriate to look at the minimalist visual arts movement of the late 60s as also being influential among photographers. Much of Kenna, Fokos, etc. can be seen as a continuation of that movement.

    As far as grain in Kenna's work, is he pushing his film?
     
  8. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far. :D
    I think MK is trying to distanciate from the classic Ansel Adams landscape work by varying some of the parameters.
    This concept was well received and created some form of a school. In painting you would talk about impressonists, kubists, surrealists etc.
    It it just plain fun to watch the photographs.

    Marc
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Although his style is different and it is with large format, look at the the work of Kenro Izu especially the platinum/palladium prints. I was fortunate enough to receive one as a gift and it is exquisite.
     
  10. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Having seen an exhibition of MK's work in his home town of Bangury, I think it was last year, I have to admit that I was not aware of seeing the "visible" grain that has been mentioned. I suppose grain may well have been there but not intrusive or to the detriment of the picture. What was more obvious was the great compositions and the stunning print quality.

    I'd be more than happy to produce work like that, even if it menat having visible grain.

    An exhibition that inspired me in my printing efforts!
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    The interesting thing about grain is that there are now applications for digital shooters to simulate the grain patterns of various films.
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    In this image, http://www.photogrowth.com/images/blog/2007/0709_Michael_Kenna.jpg MK pays homage to Bill Brandt, http://www.stanford.edu/group/ww1/spring2000/Olivia Lau/snicket.jpeg
    So it might be worthwhile checking Mr. Brandt out.

    Michael used 35mm cameras at first -- often setting up one camera and beginning the exposure, then setting up another camera somewhere else. So many of his well known early work did have a healthy grain structure!

    In his workshop literature he gave corrected exposure times for both Tri-X and TMax 400 (which was fairly new at the time), so it sounds like he had worked with both - can't say, cause I don't know, what he uses now.

    Vaughn
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Such photographers are lightheartedly referred to as "Kennabes" Many have an easy time with marine subjects, because, I suppose, marine subjects can be intrinsically elemental, and thus lend themselves to "minimalism". But Kenna brings his vision to everything he photographs which include utterly disparate subjects many of which are detailed and complex. How does he do it? Well...he's an original, that's how. "Kennabes" can't quite keep up most of the time.

    Considering that fine art photography has long since moved on to huge color images that are sometimes staged, often deliberately and rather brittley ironic or otherwise "smart", that Kenna is so widely disseminated and popular is a tribute to the authenticity of his vision. As with AA, like him or not, he's enough of an original to be long remembered and emulated.

    If someone were to tell me that one or more of my photographs were truly beautiful, and reminiscent of either AA or MK, I'd be very, very flattered.
     
  14. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    IMHO what Kenna did, others are wasting their time emulating. Its not even a school of thought but a very specific technique/look which IMO leaves no room for others. Kenna did it; its done. Everyone else who tries will only look like Kenna.

    I like Kenna's work, but something does leaves me feeling constrained and as if I am looking at somewhat repetitive work. Maybe it is because the style shows through more than the subject a lot of the time and the style is quite fixed so always there and so you always feel like you are seeing something you have seen before. Kennabes just make it worse! Still, nothing but respect for an incredibly talented and accomplished photographer.
     
  15. coigach

    coigach Member

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    I agree with John, there's a range to Kenna's work that people often overlook.

    The minimalistic landscapes are the most obvious example, but he has done other sterling work. His monographs 'Calais Lace' on old French Lace factories and 'Impossible to Forget' on Nazi camps are memorable and distinctive. Both books are treasured possessions.

    There's a wholeness and integrity to his work that I think is often lacking in the 'Kennabe's'.

    Cheers,
    Gavin
     
  16. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Someone commented that a photograph I posted here reminded them of a particular Wynn Bullock picture. I liked it before, but it suddenly became my favorite photograph.
     
  17. GFDarlington

    GFDarlington Member

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    "Having seen an exhibition of MK's work in his home town of Bangury"

    As a fellow 'Widnesian' I must point out that MKs actual home town (where he was born and grew up) is in Widnes, Cheshire in the UK.

    G
     
  18. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Apologies for getting that wrong, happy for the record to be put straight.

    I thought that I remembered it being said at the exhibition that Banbury was his home town, obviously not however there was some personal connection to Banbury that prompted him to exhibit there - wish I could remember it now. The location was so odd - the town musuem (not a "real" gallery) that
    there was a definate reason for it being there.

    Anyway, happy to be corrected and my hazy memory of the reasons takes nothing away from my enjoyment of seeing his prints *live*

    Sim2.