‘Elements’ is a special project for me bringing together my passion for contemporary architecture and black-and-white photography. The idea behind it was to showcase the ingenuity and multiplicity of contemporary façades.
Since contemporary architecture is not an architectural movement nor a school of thought, it can offer a multitude of architectural styles which are of great interest to me.
The images in this series focus on the architectural detail of contemporary buildings. I was fascinated by the distinctive aesthetics of shapes and textures and the way various surfaces rendered light and shadow. Each photograph was composed differently, with some compositions being symmetrical and repetitive creating a sense of order and tranquillity and some more dynamic emphasising the distinctiveness of the design. A central theme of the series however, is the lack of any negative space, which is a deliberate decision ensuring that the viewer is fully immersed in the subject. I opted for a square crop because the square is a perfect form in which every side is of equal importance giving the appearance of balance.
My project has taken me to various locations around the world and will no doubt continue to do so in the foreseeable future. I called the series `Elements because I wished to capture the distinct characteristics of each building using the properties of the Chinese Elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal, the five-fold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields use to explain a wide array of phenomena.
I decided to opt for black-and-white processing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the simplicity of the image. I aimed to remove all distractions from the frame allowing the viewer to focus on the graphic elements such as angles, shapes, patterns, lines and textures. This then, brings me to my second reason, I wished to highlight the contrast between various elements within the image and provide a sense of depth to each photograph.
Thirdly, black-and-white images leave something to the imagination and allow for alternative interpretations, they are more personal and more expressive. I intended to create photographs that are timeless and transcend reality, transforming the captured scene one step closer towards abstraction. And finally, I introduced lighting to the image, assigning different levels of importance to the elements within the photograph and having a full control over parts of the image I want to stand out and parts I want to de-emphasise.
About Katherine Young
Katherine Young is an award winning fine art photographer specialising in architecture. She is currently based in London however, Katherine is Polish by birth and South African by naturalisation. She also spent a number of years living in Singapore and travelled to many countries in Asia.
Katherine’s interest in photography started at an early age and was mainly influenced by her father, who recorded countless moments of Katherine’s childhood and together they spent many hours developing negatives in his darkroom. As a self-taught photographer, Katherine began her own journey with travel photography aiming to capture the essence of each of the places she visited. Inspired by the dynamic beauty of Singapore, she later focused her attention on cityscapes and architecture.
Katherine’s portfolio is diverse however, she is particularly drawn to curves, lines, shapes, reflections and fascinated by the way various surfaces render light and shadow, bringing them to ‘life’. Katherine describes her style as fine art because her photographs are created in accordance with her artistic vision rather than being a true representation of reality. This allows her to produce more personal and evocative images, providing her with unlimited freedom of expression.
Katherine’s real passion is black-and-white photography as she feels that monochromatic images have a surreal and timeless quality, which leaves a striking impact on the viewer. Without the distraction of colour, the photograph looks cleaner and reveals the very soul of the subject. Katherine uses black and white photography often paired up with long exposure technique to control the mood and highlight details not normally seen in colour. Equally, Katherine uses colour in instances when colour itself becomes the main subject in her photographs.
Katherine’s work has been published in various magazines and included in two Nikon films. Her most notable awards to date include Silver Award at the 2018 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, Silver and Bronze Awards at the 2018 Moscow International Foto Awards (mifa), Bronze Award at the 2018 Fine Art Photography Awards, Commendation at the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards, Silver and Bronze Awards at the 2017 Epson International Pano Awards and two Honourable Mentions at the 2017 International Photography Awards (ipa). [Official Website]