It’s a long process. But at first, most of my photography is just a copy of my better, whether in the method, composition, style, and others. In time, I feel my photography has changed. Not just a mere copy, but as an original. That is photography is created by me, Agrandaiz Harahap. So here in this article, I want to share 10 things unique about Agrandaiz Harahap’s Fine Art Photography.
10 Things Unique About Agrandaiz Harahap’s Fine Art Photography
I don’t actually want to share this at first. Because it feels like I’m giving away my method. Then I remembered someone said, “Its a dumb thing for a photographer who keeps their knowledge a secret.” (Just paraphrasing. Not sure if that is the exact words).
So I decided to share my not-soo-much secret. Don’t know if it can help you in improving your photography. But I hope it does. So here goes again, 10 things unique about Agrandaiz Harahap’s Fine Art Photography.
All in Black and White, A visually looking black and white color
Duhhhh. I think this is obvious. The very first moment you open my website, you should already know all my photography is in black and white.
Not just an ordinary black and white (the one that looks grey), but a deep contrast black and white.
Also Read: Defining Monochrome Photography
Only Looking for Smooth Stuff
In looking for something to photograph, I prioritize myself to look for an element which makes the photo looks “smooth” on the surface. Like glass and steel surface.
The reason is that anything that looks rough doesn’t feel right for me.
Of course, such thing can’t be found everywhere, especially in nature landscape (except for sky and water). So the next thing I can do to make it smooth is using camera trick and post-processing.
By camera trick, using long exposure, I can reduce the detail texture on a photo and create a smoother surface. By post-processing, I usually just use Google Nik Silver Efex Pro, then use the Structure slider. Using it I can reduce the texture and roughness.
My Composition Always Simple
If you see my photos, you can see that my composition is not really that hard. Quite simple. Not minimalist, just simple.
Sometimes it’s just a straight up shot. Another just a simple leading line. Simple composition with one main subject to focus on. The reason is, for black and white photography, too much element in the composition will be a hassle. People tend to ignore such thing in color photography, but not in black and white photography. Because most of the element has a similar tone.
Everything is Real, No Change in Composition
I heard few times that people accuse me doing photo composite. HELL NO!!!
For those who don’t know, photo composite is technique usually used by a graphic artist to combining two or more photos into one. By combining an element from 1 photo to another, photographer or graphic artist can create an amazing and close to the impossible image.
I did try to create photo composite before. But none of my photos on this website is photo composite. All real. I never combine a photo with another different photo.
There are No an Actual Black and White in My Photos
There is a little secret in my photos. Even though I said my photo is black and white, the truth is none of it has an actual black or white color. Check this histogram:
There is not even the slightest peak on either the far right and the far left of the histogram. This means there is no black and white in the photo. Majority of my photo has a histogram like that.
The reason is that if it an actual black and white, that means there is a high contrast in the photo. The contrast that can make the photo looks weird and unnatural (for example, a photo that looks like a building attached to a black background). To avoid it, I avoid an actual black in the photo, so then it appears there is some gradation of tone. In doing so, the photo can appear natural.
Actually, I already talked about this thing in my previous post.
Highlight as The Central Focus
We go back to histogram that I just showed.
If I try to describe it, it looks like there is a huge peak on the left side, and gradually moving down to the right.
This means the photo has a majority of dark tone. But gradually brighten directed to one part of the photo. That is my photography.
The brightest part of my photo usually is the main subject of the photo. Doing so, I can make the viewer direct their attention to one single part of the photo, which is the main subject.
This my photo that uses highlight to pointing out the main subject of the photo:
I Remove Stuff Barely Related to The Composition
My priority always the main subject. So everything that gets in the way of my main subject or anything that distracting my composition, is something that I will remove using post-processing. For example, I remove a little element that distracting in the photo, like dust or a little spot. Sometimes bigger stuff like a cable, getting in a way of my subject. Sometimes there’s also a big element that kinda distracting my composition. So what I do is making too dark for anyone to see it.
Whenever My Post-Processing Fail, I Start from the Beginning. The Very Beginning.
I always think if my post-processing is wrong or don’t end up with the way I want it to be, that means I made a mistake when I took the photo. So what I did is completely abandoned the photo and go back to the location to take another shot. In the same way, the same composition, the same method. Then post-processing again.
A long road, yes. But that’s how I work.
Tree is My Enemy
In my entire experience in urban setting photography, a tree is the only thing that always gets in the way of my photography. I don’t know about another city around the world, but in Indonesia, you hardly see any city without a tree in it. They’re everywhere.
I know a tree is good for reducing carbon pollution of the city. But it’s really bad for my photography. I can’t create a good post-processing adjustment. I also can’t remove it without the chance of destroying my photo.
So I really want to avoid tree if I could, which is quite hard to find one.
It’s Look Simple, But Not Easy
Even though many of the compositions look simple, but the truth is it’s not easy as it looks like.
I did make a tutorial on how to make my kind of photography. Many have tried it and show it to me. But I hardly found any that at least I can say as, “ehhhh, decent.”
Well, there of course one or two who can make it better than most. And that is my point.
I can say for certain, it’s next to impossible for a newbie in photography nor in post-processing to create a decent black and white fine art photography, whether its landscape, architecture or urban.
It’s the same for me. The first time I tried to create one, copying my better, it didn’t go as I hope it would be. I tried to find a tutorial that shows me how to do it. But there’s only a few of them. So I have no choice to take those few lesson and practice over and over again.
Two years. It took me almost two years to develop my own method of photography with so little guidance. So if anyone said that my photography is easy, don’t believe it.
Those are 10 things unique about Agrandaiz Harahap’s Fine Art Photography that I can think of. I’m sure there are more. But really can’t be seen visually.
All of those things, combined and become something called Agrandaiz Harahap Photography. And that is my wish.
The wish that someone who sees any of my photos begins to wonder, “have I see this photo before?” or “I recognize this photography style.”
Don’t have to remember my name, but really remember my style of photography. Like you can recognize a Van Gogh right away.