MATTHEW NORDHAGEN :: BLOG

NATURE IN BLACK AND WHITE

June 27th, 2018

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia

I am starting to learn that if you find yourself struggling to produce a piece of work of any kind, sometimes taking a bit of creative detour can help set things straight. Photography, like many creative pursuits, can easily become stale which leads to disinterest and, eventually, a defeatist attitude about ever wanting to pick up a camera (or instrument, or pencil, or paintbrush) again. Despite its advantages, social media has a disadvantage of furthering these feelings when you are constantly bombarded with one piece of award winning work after another. When you begin comparing your work and yourself to others, it is all downhill from there.

I wouldn't say that I have reached those extreme stages yet, but it has certainly been a struggle to produce any kind of work that I have been happy with as of late. Everyone wants to capture that once in a lifetime composition that takes full advantage of those morning and evening golden hours. These hours are a photographic staple for a reason. But they are also constrictive. Couple that with a photographers reflexive impulse to always capture that perfect image and the day (or days) where nothing of any value is produced, you begin to question your artistic capacity.

A nice reset is simply taking a break from what you would normally do and focus that energy on something you would normally not do. In my case, it is not often that I approach nature and landscape photography from a black and white perspective. This shift in focus also required a shift in thinking as compositions that would work in color may not translate well to black and white, and vice versa. Soon I found myself enjoying the challenge for what it is and capturing images that I would have likely overlooked otherwise. Not only was I able to capture images that I enjoyed myself (seen here), but it also gave me the motivation to focus my efforts on a different avenue of nature and landscape photography altogether.

National Gallery of Arts, Washington, D.C.
Hirshorne Museum, Washington, D.C.
Trump Tower, Washington D.C.