Axel Breutigam presents a collection of black and white photography that explores unusual perspectives and strong contrast. See more of his portfolio on his website.
I’m a German-born Canadian black and white fine art photographer, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Born and raised in Hamburg, I had a successful career as a lawyer and CPA for more than thirty years. Then I sold my law firm and my family and I moved to Vancouver so I could follow my passion for photography.
My wife and I lived part time in Palm Springs, California for eight years. I had the opportunity to explore and photograph Southern California and the neighboring states of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, I studied with Alan Ross, who was Ansel Adams’ long time assistant and the exclusive printer of Adams’ Yosemite Special Edition Negatives.
During my years working as a lawyer and CPA, photography had to be put on the back burner. It was limited to vacation and family time only. Nevertheless, while working as a consultant for the German government in the years following the German Unification in 1989 my (back then film) camera was always with me. I went on extensive travels to countries like India, Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Cuba, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Greece.
My work focuses mainly on architectural subjects and landscape. Since Covid-19 hit the world, I also started to do some studio work.
No matter what the photographic subject is, I always try to concentrate on the beauty found in underlying details—often with a minimalistic approach.
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Isolating reality through the lens eliminates distraction and empowers viewers to reflect upon their surroundings. It also enables them to appreciate the often overlooked beauty found in urban environments and nature simply through artistic presentation.
Shooting solely in black and white, the majority of my photographs have been taken with a dedicated black and white camera—a Leica Monochrom. Coming from the film era, I’m not a big fan of extensive digital manipulation. Even shooting mostly digital (a bit of film on the side) I try to capture as much as possible in the camera in order to reduce the time at the computer. Using a monochrome camera requires using filters in the field instead of the color sliders in Lightroom or Photoshop. For studio work, I also use Hasselblad’s X-System and for technical shots a Sinar-X view camera with a CFV II 50C digital back.
One important aspect of photography is sharing my images with other people, both on social media and in my view, most importantly “in the real world” such as in a gallery.
One of my most important achievements as a photographer was getting gallery representation. I have representation in Palm Springs, California, Portland Oregon, Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Vancouver, British Columbia. It is always exciting to learn what viewers think about my photographs and what they see in my images. Sometimes what they see is congruent with my idea or vision, but quite often I would never have interpreted my images that way.
That’s the beauty of black and white. It lets the viewer imagine what the real scene might have looked like.
Artist Axel Breutigam invites you to follow him on Instagram.
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