There are certainly more spectacular landscapes on this planet as Lower Bavaria.
This part of Bavaria has vast agriculturally used rolling hills in the west, and the river plain of the Danube marks a natural border to the mountains of the Bavarian forest in the east.
In his fine art landscape project Bernd Walz presents “Scenes from Lower Bavaria” in his typical minimalistic photographic style. In a recent interview for Nathan Wirths artists spotlights on Nathans page `slices of silence´. Bernd was asked “If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose?” Bernd answered: “Enjoying my personal creative workflow – slowing down, calming down, reducing the complex world, and translating all this into a silent, atmospheric image.” This is what Bernd calls slow photography. He carefully prepares his phototours and projects conceptually, he spends much time for an optimal image composition and a careful postprocessing.
Bernds activity (not interest) in photography was pretty dormant for almost 35 years in favor of his career and job as scientist and professor in zoology and physiology. However, photography accompanied his whole professional life for scientific documentation. It wasn´t until 2006, when he began to work with digital photography, and his old enthusiasm for the creative side of photography began to grow again. And now Bernd is a passionate landscape photographer strongly attracted by wide open landscapes, seascapes and riverscapes. He loves the vastness, emptyness and stillness of such landscapes. Therefore he finds his subjects often in humanly transformed rural landscapes, at the sea, at lakes or rivers. Such landscapes offer geometrc clarity of lines, shapes, forms, textures and tonal gradations.
Lower Bavaria offers all this, but when Bernd lived there working as a s professor for zoology at the University of Regensburg, he perceived the rural Lower Bavaria more boring than worth a visit. This opinion has changed to the opposite with his growing enthusiasm for landscape photography. and he began his project “Scenes from Lower Bavaria”. The project title is modified from the title of the film “Hunting Scenes from Lower Bavaria” (Jagdszenen aus Niederbayern) directed 1969 by Peter Fleischmenn. Bernd does not attempt a landscape documentation but rather picks landscape scenes suited for a strongly reduced presentation with almost mathematically composed image elements. With this approach he creates an aesthetics of bleakness and images of haunting silence.
The photographs on display in this feature are all black and white images. Bernd loves black and white becaus avoiding color is a powerful method for abstracting a subject. Graphic image elements become dominating, and the tonal quality adds to the overall mood of an image. In this way black and white creates its special, timeless aesthetic. In conjunction with long exposure photography black and white adds to the photographers toolbox for creating minimalistic, atmospheric images. Under this aspects it might be interesting to the reader to compare the black and white images of this article with a short series of color images from the same project published on Bechance.
Besides landscape photography Bernd works on two abstract projects “Crystalline World” and “Pure Photography”. Microphotography (the camera is attached to a microscope) is the starting point for these projects (see homepage). As in his landscape photography Bernd follows in these projects also a strongly minimalistic approach. [Text: Bernd Walz] [Official Website]
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