The Guru of black and white photography Michael Kenna, an English photographer, was born in 1953. He is known for his monochromatic landscapes. Such images are not necessarily stark in contrast, they are mostly produced in shades of gray. Many artists prefer colour in their work, however there is a certain beauty in black & white pictures. Kenna enthralls the audience with his splendor in monochrome photography. In London, Michael took commercial photography and did landscape photography alongside. Then he moved to San Francisco and met Ruth Bernhard and became a printer and assistant to her for 8 years.
Black & white photography is mystifying and mysterious since everything around us is already in color. Such photos disseminate calmness. When Michael Kenna produces his works of art, it is very subjective and since there are no universal interpretations of good and bad, artists can make whatever they want. Kenna also reflects what he sees from his point of view. With the help on ethereal light, Kenna is able to photograph his atypical landscapes at night and dawn.
Michael Kenna studied from Upholland College, Lancashire, the London College of Printing and the Banbury School of Art, Oxfordshire. He moved to San Francisco to work as a printer for Ruth Bernhard in 1980s.
Kenna’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. His collections are also available in Paris, the Patrimoine photographique; in London, at Victoria and Albert Museum; in Washington D.C., the National Gallery of Art; and in Prague at the Museum of Decorative Art.
In the year 2000, Kenna was made a Chevalier by the Ministry of Culture (France) in the Order of Arts and Letters. Six years later, he wrote the preface of a photo series by Mohammadreza Mirzaei (photographer of Iran), titled Humans. In 2010, his photography on concentration camps was shown in the opening credits of Esther’s Diary, Holocaust film. A year later, Michael Kenna wrote another preface for Bruce Percy’s (Scottish photographer) photo monograph, The Art of Adventure.
The photographer has won six awards since 1981 to 2003, like Imogen Cunningham Award in USA, 1981; Art in Public Buildings Award, USA, in 1987; Institute for Aesthetic Development Award, USA, 1989; Golden Saffron Award, Spain, in 1996; Honorary Master of Arts, USA, 2003; and the one is mentioned above.
Several photobooks of Kenna’s work have been published from 1984 to 2012, such as Michael Kenna Photographs, The Weston Gallery and Stephen Wirtz Gallery (1984); Night Walk, Friends of Photography (1987); The Silverado Squatters, The Arion Press (1996); Boarding School, Nazraeli Press (2003); Montecito Garden, Nazraeli Press (2007); In France, Nazraeli Press (2012); and many more.
He invites you to see the world with a different perspective. He shoots until all possibilities according to him are finished, for a particular area or subject. He spends several hours for a long exposure. Kenna likes to give time to his subjects, he often revisits the location to search for anything that he missed. This activity requires endurance, flexibility and time. He is an observer, while not working he likes to just look at things around him. Kenna doesn’t plan schedules or visualize the images beforehand, he takes what he gets and finds.
He has a silent approach to photographing the environment, scenery, landscapes and anything around him. He combines traditional and latest photography techniques to create exotic scenes.