Leaves On The Water

leaves and plants in the lake

leaves and plants in the lake - crop

There’s a kind of photo subject I associate with Harry Callahan, (not the police inspector played by Clint Eastwood).

Harry Callahan the photographer was born in 1912 and died in 1999, so his creative years covered a lot of the changing development of photography.

He also taught – at the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design.

He photographed mostly in black and white and a significant number of his photos were ‘less is more’ – a reed sticking out of the water – that kind of thing. They are not abstract, in that you can tell what is being photographed. But the emphasis is on the graphic shapes of the subjects.

If you are not familiar with the idea, there is an idea in photography that some photos are ‘record’ shots, and some are pictorial.

Imagine you wanted to photograph a chair for the benefit of a man from Mars who had never seen a chair and was not familiar with the idea of sitting. You would approach the subject to be informative to the person looking at the photo – and that would be a record shot.

Or, if you wanted to please yourself and shoot the angles and surfaces that your liked, that photo may not make much sense to a Martian, but an Earthling might like it as a picture that pleased him or her.

Callahan, by that logic, was a pictorial photographer.

I had his work in mind, as I pretty much always do when I see a black and white photo of something minimal in nature.

And I wanted to see whether I could pull out the feeling of the leaf floating on the water. There are endless things you can do in Photoshop to make the image low key, high key, and everything in between. So this is it.

B&W version of leaves and plants in the lake


  1. Joan says:

    Lovely composition, and nice to hear about Harry Callahan. If I remember correctly, he photographed his wife too. Or I might be confusing him with another photographer. I’ll have to go check my books!


    1. You are right – he did, he did.


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