B&WBioLandscape photography; Subtracting the color by Elmar Akhmetov

This project is my try to look at the things that inspired me for so long from a new perspective, learning to appreciate them as they are. I cannot refer to these photographs as to pure landscapes, though landscapes are present in the selection.

My name is Elmar and I am an IT expert by occupation and a landscape photographer by heart residing in Kazakhstan. I have taken up photography in late 2007 and have never left home without a camera in my hands since then. For quite a while I enjoyed taking photos without putting much effort and thought into a single shot. Instead of that, I used a camera for getting to know the world around me.

Everything changed after one of my pictures won a nomination in Sony World Photography Awards 2013. It was about the same time when I learned that my uncle was losing his struggle with cancer. Until that point of time I, as well as the majority of people in my opinion, took every good thing happening to me and all of the good people who surrounded me for granted. When my uncle got worse, my mother spent almost all of her time to take care of him and eventually she mentioned the award that I was about to receive and he asked her to show him the picture. When he has seen this picture he was surprised of how beautiful was the nature depicted in it.  I regard him as the one of the brightest people that I know, but the fact that he has never seen anything on par with that scene, intrigued me. To me it now seems that even smartest people easily lured into the trap of not appreciating the world that we all live in.

Throughout the childhood we are amazed with the world around us – everything from leafs and sticks to majestic landscapes is drawing our attention and bringing new experience along with joy and excitement of the exploration. However, as we grow up and get older we somehow get used to what we see around us day by day. Things we used to find curious and interesting are getting habitual and not exciting anymore, the world is getting usual and boring to some extent; we are thriving for the new experiences and views, trying to leave our past behind.

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This project is my try to look at the things that inspired me for so long from a new perspective, learning to appreciate them as they are. I cannot refer to these photographs as to pure landscapes, though landscapes are present in the selection. In my opinion “portraiture of the land” is more convenient name for this type of photos. My aim is to present not even the view, but the feeling of the scene, making ordinary subjects look like guests from a parallel universe or a fairy tale.

In order to emphasize some of the features that caught my eye and give a breath of fresh air to the scenes depicted in the series I decided to use IR converted camera for the project, as I wanted to escape the trap of the subjects in the photographs being perceived as usual by the viewer. IR spectrum makes this task easier, enhancing the play of light and shadows on the subjects and giving grotesque-like and surreal look to all of the details captured.

This is a long-term project and I can foresee myself working on it during the next couple of years if not decades. As the project is based on the exploration and discovery of various parts of the world including my homeland of course, and as it is naturally divided into parts due to the fact that I can only take a journey once in four or five months, I am planning to present each part separately as a sub-project dedicated to one theme or location.

First part that I am presenting to you now is called “Back to roots” and is dedicated to my deceased uncle. Soon after he has gone I travelled to the region that some of my ancestors came from – North-Eastern part of Kazakhstan. This is the land of picturesque mountains, dark deep lakes, treacherous swamps and thick endless forests. Some people do believe that one of the energy pillars of the Earth (the one that is on par with Kailash) is located here. I cannot tell you if this is true or it is just a story made up to be another attention grabber, instead of this I will let images speak for themselves and I would like to let you decide for yourself if these stories make any sense whatsoever. [Official Website]
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Subtracting the color

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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