In his recent book Exploring Black and White Photography: A Masterclass, the British photographer Paul Gallagher writes that because most of us see everything in colour in our daily lives, a colour photograph – unless exceptional – gives us just a ‘record’ of a scene, only a ‘literal’ statement of the object being photographed. But if we are presented with a black-and-white image of something we are familiar with, then it is likely that we will stop and take the time to look because it will be different. He adds:
Black and white photography is so massively versatile. You could be photographing a wedding or portraits, be out there in the urban environment making images of buildings, on the street taking candid photographs, or working in a forest or valley in the landscape. The choices are limitless. However, if you compare this with colour photography, there are certain limitations to what you can do to get the same appeal in a colour image. The reason for this is that colour is what you see all the time, and if colour tonality is adjusted too far colours look over-saturated and false, and can quickly become ugly.
Although he does click coloured pictures, the Romanian photographer Alexandru Crisan (born in 1978 in Bucharest) seems to understand Gallagher’s point about the “versatility” of the monochromatic mode of vision very well. An architect by education, Alexandru received his first camera when he was 12 years old. His professional photographic career, however, began in 2011, when he finally decided to present his personal works to the public. Since then, his art has been widely exhibited and earned him several prizes.
He happily applies the monochromatic filter to a wide range of environments. He captures misty forests and mountain ranges, lone ships and boats adrift in the sea, the fluidity and rigidity of urban architecture. Highways and corridors, curves and edges, patches of light and shadow. By carefully stripping away colour, he is able to transform the everyday in a way that renders it dramatic and attractive.
You can learn more about Alexandru on his – website (alexandrucrisan.artphotography.fr), Art Limited (www.artlimited.net/alexandrucrisan), Saatchi Art (www.saatchiart.com/alexandrucrisan) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/alexandru.crisan.pg) pages.