Influencing Me, Photography

Influencing Me – Mabry Campbell

If you love architecture and especially photographing it, then today’s Influencing Me photographer should be someone you know or need to know. I don’t remember when I first learned of Mabry Campbell, but I do know when I go into the city I often have his images swimming around in my head and I’m looking for great architecture to photograph.

Angles of Light VII ~ John Hancock Center (Big John)This is a perfect example of what I mean.  Of course I know it is highly processed, I am sure it is, which you all know I don’t have a problem with.  I love the way he uses the lights and the darks, the monotone image, gives the impression of isolation. That is the best word I can think of.  I need to get into the city and look for some great buildings, we have some here, I’m sure we do.

GullfossIt was also a very lovely surprise to discover all his wonder seascapes and waterscapes on his blog. They are given the same attention to detail as the architectural shots.  The way he plays with the lights and darks, I know I could learn a lot from looking at these images.  The contrast is just amazing.

Boats At CosmopolitanThis image was a bit of a shock, after seeing so many black and white images to come across one with colour was really surprising, but then as you look more in Mabry’s work you start to see that he does do a lot of colour.  Nice to see. Nice to see that he doesn’t feel everything has to be black and white and that sometimes colour can be important.

Razor Music IIThere is an abstract quality about many of the architecture shots, and it is something I am finding that I like more and more, you will get what I mean when you see my MM image this week.  I do like images that twist your brain around, and this is an image that does that I think.  At first it is hard to tell which way the image goes, but when you take a good look you see which is the right way.

All Is QuietYou’ve heard me saying it about my own work, that there is a quietness to it, and I think Mabry’s images has that same quietness.  I am sure when he has exhibitions, people are quiet when they are looking at them. There is a stillness, that quiet atmosphere.  I love it.

I am going to leave it there for you today, and leave you with a gallery of some of his work.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mabry for giving me permission to feature his work here on my blog today.  I would invite you all to go and take a look at his website, Mabry Campbell Fine Art | Architectural Photography, and he also has a blog for his image, which is MABRY CAMPBELL PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG.


      • Haha! Laura is correct! I don’t take myself seriously and have been described by a student as having carefree exuberance. Here’s one for you. So I received an email from a construction client asking me to photograph a new Insectarium and Wombat House at a zoo that they recently completed. I laughed so hard reading it, and thinking it might be spam. A Wombat House! Then they said that later I’ll need to shoot the new Gorilla enclosure…inside the enclosure. Yikes! So I’m watching Gorillas In the Mist to learn how to handle this. Hehe. If you don’t hear from me after this shoot, please tell the world my story :))

      • I like people who don’t take themselves to seriously, doesn’t mean they aren’t serious about what they do, still, you have to be able to laugh and joke around. Haha, so the construction company is building a zoo, but it has wombats, where is the zoo. We have wombats in the parks around me, but I haven’t seen any, possible because they are nocturnal, I’m sleeping when their awake. Maybe one night, might have to go out with the touches.
        I will, and I’m sure Laura will too when she recovers. Though they wouldn’t let you go in if it wasn’t safe would they?

  1. The thing I don’t like — I have the same problem with my own pictures — is the way the sky pixelates and tiles. It’s a problem with smooth skies, even when you use very minimal processing. I hate the way it looks. I try to avoid shooting big skies because I know they are going to be problematic in processing. You can see it clearly in the second picture.

    • I don’t really know how to fix that, it is something you have to be very careful about Marilyn. Sometimes it can happen by darkening the colour too much. I try to avoid it as well.

    • Hi Marilyn. I assure you that the sky is very smooth with no pixelation in the original image. I see the image above, and certainly am seeing what you are referring to. Probably due to a screen capture. I’d post a link to the original here, but don’t want to send people off Leanne’s post.

      But let me tell you how to avoid banding in a dark sky. It’s surprisingly simple. What I do is duplicate the working layer and add a between .75% – 1% noise to the entire image in Photoshop. Then bring that layer into Silver Efex Pro and adjust “Grain” to about 490 (smooth 50%). Once saved, mask that new sky into the main working image, so the rest of the image is not affected. All banding is a memory. Joel Tjintjelaar told me this trick many years ago. It works perfectly.

  2. Yes, I know his work. While it is inspirational, it also is highly processed. Some of which pulls me into its magic, and others seem not the reality that we see. Still, I enjoy his images as art.

    • I don’t have a problem with it not representing reality, I think they make great images, so I like to think that way. That is great Sally.

    • Hi there Sally! Particularly on my long exposure black and white architectural images my intention IS to remove the image from reality. First degree…long exposure. Second degree…black and white. Third degree…shaping the light. Obviously we do not see building this way in reality. Why do I do this? Well it’s a personal preference of course, but additionally I want the image to match my vision of it, and highlight certain subjects to force your eye to look where I want it too. So most times on these highly processed images, I do want reality, I want an interpretation of the reality. But be assured, I never alter the lines or volumes in architectural images. I have too much respect for the designing architect. To change their form just seems wrong to me. Thanks Sally!

  3. I am not architectural but these are wonderful. They have a dark and jagged geometry and a space like ( alien) quality. The landscapes too! I love Burning in the summertime. That one is a Shangri la!!

  4. Terrific post, Leanne. Fantastic architecture and images, I love the challenge of capturing buildings in an interesting way.

    • It is very challenging Jane, I find the same, so photographer Mabry and really inspire and give some great ideas.

  5. Extraordinary images. You are so right about the quietness that descends as one looks through them. I notice that there are no people in them, which, in combination with their colour scheme, the vignetting and the selective brightened areas, and the overprocessed look of the images, really enhances the sense of starkness, isolation, peacefulness, and the beauty of the lines and shapes… Stunning.

    • You REALLY summed up what I strive to do Reggie. Altering highlights and shadows, and basically removing the image from reality….all without compositing. I have no problem with compositing, it’s just not part of my vision in my images. To shape the light that is already present in the original RAW is the basis of this black and white LE work. Many thanks!

  6. Certainly has a distinctive style and as I have noted in the past, I do like architectural abstracts. Thanks for sharing Leanne.

  7. I wasn’t familiar with him Leanne, but you’re right in the fact that he is amazing! I love the light contrasts of black and white…. these, as yours, are spectacular! :D

  8. What amazing images, each photo more compelling than the last! Love the richness of the colors, but the monochrome images speak to me as well. Thanks, Leanne, for sharing Mabry’s wonderful work!

    • I agree Stacy, they all have so much to aspire to, they are wonderful. You’re welcome, it has been great to see how much people have enjoyed it.

  9. What can I say other than “Thank you Leanne”! It’s always interesting to learn how others see my images, and you really put it into words in a great way. Of course, it’s generally different than how I see them. For example, when you mention that some of my black and whites have a quiet feeling, I immediately saw that was correct, even though I had never considered it. I love that observation and how it has now changed basically how I view all of my black and whites. I’ve always wanted to have one “star” on those images, such as not allowing the processing of the sky to overpower the actual subject. And what this creates is what you saw, a quiet image with one “star”. I’ve never wanted those images to come flying off a wall and scream “look at me”. Again, your quiet comment = outstanding observation and it has helped me out as well.

    The last thing I see before a leave my home to go out on an assignment is a small sign saying “I Am Still Learning – Michelangelo”. It’s a constant reminder in my face, and your post did the same.

    Many thanks to the wonderful comments on this post. I appreciate them all, truly.
    All the best,

    • I know what you mean Mabry, I love reading what others think of mine too, they usually see things I didn’t see. I like quiet, though took me a long to accept it in my own images, but I do quite like it a lot now. I like that idea of the one star too. You’re welcome.

      I love that last thing you see when you leave, what a great concept, I might have to pinch that, if you don’t mind. ;)

      You are so welcome, and thank you for allowing me to do it.

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