Websites For Spring; Where Do You Get All Those Marvelous…Quotations? Page 2
James Randklev’s bright, cheery site design is the perfect answer to those designers who feel photographers’ homepages need black backgrounds. They don’t, as you will joyfully appreciate when viewing Randklev’s dazzling travel photographs that transport you from Alaska’s tundra to Florida’s beaches. The site contains nine portfolios, some organized by state, such as Florida and Georgia, and others by subject matter, such as national parks and seashells. All are worth a visit but I started with “Intimate Landscapes,” which includes a potpourri of color photographs made from Alaska’s chilly Kenai Peninsula to Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. What these photographs have in common is extraordinary craftsmanship and an unerring sense of color and place. You’ve seen Yosemite’s El Capitan before but never as dramatically captured in color by Randklev.
Clicking on thumbnails in each portfolio opens a separate window containing a larger version of the photograph along with useful caption information about when and where the image was made, something sorely missing on most websites. The “Panoramics” collection is notable both in image quality and breadth of visualization. Here you’ll find the natural rock towers of Monument Valley contrasted with the steel and glass towers of Los Angeles. “Seashells” takes the opposite approach by focusing on tiny objects in interesting backgrounds, sometimes featuring spectacular lighting as in the elegant photograph of a Queen Conch that has its Latin name included in the caption! What is so amazing about Randklev’s site is not just the quality of his vision but the fact that there are so many great photographs to see.
Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, Lancashire, England, and currently lives in Seattle, Washington, US. His subtle yet elegantly styled black and white images are captured using “old and battered Hasselblads” and fully exploit the legendary square format to the maximum, as can be seen in his “Recent work” collection and in his “Archive.” Each portfolio is full of small thumbnails that, when clicked, opens a larger version; clicking on it takes you to the next photograph. The images seem small, deliberately so because Kenna’s work is displayed in galleries as 71⁄2x71⁄2” prints because they reflect the way he likes others to see his work. The images—and the site overflows with his prolific output—reflect a subtle intensity and occasionally, as in photographs such as “Charles Bridge, Study 9, Prague, Czech Republic, 2007,” influences of Josef Sudek, but maybe that’s the pull Prague exerts on all photographers. In truth, Kenna’s work is hard to classify; it’s part landscape, part travel, with a dash of photojournalism, all wrapped around an artistic sensibility not often observed in these times of “me too” and emperor’s new clothes photographic fads. Kenna’s straightforward way of embracing complex scenes breathes new life into even clichéd scenes such as the Eiffel Tower. His images show a mastery of light, even working when there is little or no light at all, to reveal secret places whether the subject is Istanbul, Mexico, or Kristiansund, Norway. These are not what tourists see and may even be what locals overlook. Kenna’s photographs are about time, they are about mood, and give us entry to those moments where only he can take us. Look closely and feel what he has to show.