There’s a photographer who’s work has intrigued me for a while, his name is Dave Rothschild. I think it’s just how unique his photos are, I can’t say I’ve seen anything truly like it. He is a film photographer and shoots in both black and white and colour and his main focus of subject matter is nature, specifically trees. Even more specifically, quite ragged and unruly tree and nature environments.
Since quite a lot of his work is shot in foggy conditions and I have no access to that really here in South Australia, I’ve taken inspiration mostly from his more recent black and white work, which has included less fog. It intrigues me so much how he is able to see art in such a tangled environment, and how effective the black and white film is in rendering these scenes. It is something I never would have really thought of as I would have thought it would be difficult to distinguish the different shapes in such a busy environment, but I think that’s partly what makes this body of work so interesting, because the colour choice abstracts it further.
Since his work intrigues me so much, I have been wanting to try taking some photos of some unruly nature landscapes in black and white myself, so when I finally got around to loading my camera with a roll of black and white film, I decided to do exactly that.
Above are a few examples of some of Dave’s black and white work I particularly enjoy, and below are some of photos I took where I tried to use what I have observed from his pictures to influence my images.
I headed to a relatively untouched area down by the River Torrens where I recalled there being lots of ragged and interesting trees and textures. I used Kodak 400Tmax film, but I think the photos may have looked better if I used a film with a bit more contrast. I tried to look out for contrasting tones in the environment, such as a dark tree amongst lighter trees, to allow for a bit more clarity in the image and to create a stronger focal point.
This (above) is definitely my favourite photo from this set. The dark bark stands out amazingly and I just love the nature of this tree. I think black and white was even the best way to capture it as it truly highlights the entanglement of branches and stunning shapes that are created, I can’t imagine it another way.
Overall this was a very interesting activity and a new approach to nature photography for me. It has encouraged me to expand my subject matter and see things in different ways, and experiment more with capturing things in different ways.
I’m going to start this series called ‘the inspire diaries’ where every so often I will choose a photographer and try and identify their style and use it to inspire some work of my own. Hopefully I can learn some new things each time and this can help to identify and expand my own style of photography, instead of just sticking to the same thing all the time which can leave me stagnant and never improving. My goal with all my art is to be constantly evolving, growing, improving and learning, and I would like to document that process.