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Monthly Masters' Discussioon - February 2020 - Michael Kenna's "Wanaka Lake Tree"

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:37 pm
by minniev
Introduction
This month we will look at a work by modern master Michael Kenna: Wanaka Lake Tree. I have intended for two years to offer one of Kenna's images for your review, but have been unable to decide which of his astounding body of work to share here - his surreal landscapes, his mystical architectural photographs, his stunning industrial images, his closeups? Finally I simply spun the wheel and let chance select this one. If you are not familiar with Kenna, please take the time to look through his portfolio, linked below. It is a treat.

Though he was born and lives in England, Kenna has traveled widely throughout his 50 year photographic career. He has published 50 books and has permanent gallery collections in 7 countries. Kenna shoots only in black and white. His images have a dreamy, ethereal quality regardless of the subject matter. This particular image is from New Zealand, and features one of his favorite subjects, a single tree.

Please look over some of the links below, and respond to any of the questions you find interesting, or simply share our own thoughts.

Questions
1. What is your opinion of Wanaka Lake Tree? What do you think of the composition? The choice of processing? Does it have impact? Would you want it on your wall? Why or why not?
2. Black and white photography has remained popular for portraits and street photography but in modern times, the trend in landscape photography has been towards rich, saturated colors. Do you think monochrome photography still has a place in the landscape genre? Explain. Do you think Kenna’s landscapes still resonate with today’s viewers? Discuss whether they appeal to you and why or why not.
3. Look at more of Kenna’s work on his portfolio site. Do you think he has a recognizable style? If so, how would you describe it? Do you have a recognizable style? How would you describe yours?
4. The lone tree is a fairly common photographic theme. Is Kenna’s collection cliche because of this? Why or why not? Do you take photos of lone trees? If so, would you share one? Should we avoid subjects that have become common in this way? Why or why not?

Links for Further Study

https://www.michaelkenna.net/index2.php
https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/mi ... o-gallery/
https://issuu.com/photographizemag/docs ... ay_2018/22
http://www.designfather.com/black-white ... hael-kenna
http://www.photographyoffice.com/blog/2 ... hael-kenna
http://www.betterphotography.in/perspec ... nna/26178/
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... n-pictures

Re: Monthly Masters' Discussioon - February 2020 - Michael Kenna's "Wanaka Lake Tree"

Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:30 pm
by PietFrancke
he appears to be the master of silhouette. Or is he the master of three, grey - white - black? In this particular image (one of his that I really like), the water has taken on the aspect of a milk. The composition and flowing beauty has something of the feeling of older Japanese type art to it. I find the image iconic, soothing, flowing, very easy to look at (my eye does not become weary).

As a surreal study of contrasts, I like the way the hard, intricate, fractal branches play off of the neutral sky and the soft milky water, and the distant soft hills. Not many images that I would consider having on my wall - this would be one of them. I think I have found a new "minimalist" inspiration.

Re: Monthly Masters' Discussioon - February 2020 - Michael Kenna's "Wanaka Lake Tree"

Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:33 pm
by minniev
PietFrancke wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:30 pm
he appears to be the master of silhouette. Or is he the master of three, grey - white - black? In this particular image (one of his that I really like), the water has taken on the aspect of a milk. The composition and flowing beauty has something of the feeling of older Japanese type art to it. I find the image iconic, soothing, flowing, very easy to look at (my eye does not become weary).

As a surreal study of contrasts, I like the way the hard, intricate, fractal branches play off of the neutral sky and the soft milky water, and the distant soft hills. Not many images that I would consider having on my wall - this would be one of them. I think I have found a new "minimalist" inspiration.
Yaay! Thank you for resurrecting the masters and responding Piet! I agree with the comparison to Japanese art. Several of his minimalist images remind me of that style. The water resembles molten silver.

I like your description of the branches as fractal. Good way to describe the feel.