DARK MATTER By Tony Harratt

Gotham City

Those of you who follow my Fuji Freak blog will know I’ve started a (very!) long term project based on Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern’s excellent book “The Photographer’s Playbook”. It is not the only long term project I have running.

I really like architectural photographs that are processed as “black sky” images, with just small parts of the buildings being highlighted by the prevailing light. I sometimes feel that there is a kind of fear of the intrusion of modern architecture. “Dark Matter”, the title of the project, seeks to preview how cities may appear in the future following either war, pollution or other man-made blight.

I am not given to spending hours fettling images in different photo editing suites. My aim is to get as many aspects of the finished item straight from the camera. This greatly reduces the time spent editing. I reduce the exposure, highlights and shadows until I have the desired amount of black. Using Lightroom’s detail adjustment tools, I increase the highlights to the relevant parts of the building where the ambient light illuminates the building. This can be fiddly if there’s a lot of edges to adjust take a look at this image of mine to see what I mean. Once I’m happy with the illumination of the building the image is sharpened and filed ready for use.

Below, there is a small sample of some of the images I have produced so far, which may give you an idea of what I am trying to achieve. Mann Island No.1 #1 Glass House

Gotham CityAll images ©Tony Harratt 2015

If you want to learn more about black sky images have a look at the work of Mey Belin and Turnvater JanoschThe true master (mistress?) of black sky photography is, for me, Greek photographer Julia-Anna GospodarouHer work is astounding and worth a visit even if you’re not interested in black sky. The attention to detail is quite stunning.

The three images above feature buildings in Liverpool (top & bottom), with the centre image comes from an installation at Format 15 in Derby.

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