Congratulations to our Top Pic of the Week, Nick Ahrens! Nick loves experimenting with different photography genres and shooting for black and white photos. Read on to learn more about the production of these photos!
I've been shooting for about 12-13 years, but it technically started earlier in high school being around things like skateboarding. I really look at the journey starting in Minneapolis in my very early 20's. I honestly don't remember why I bought a camera, but the first thing I did was head down to the local music venues like the Triple Rock Social Club or 7th Street Entry and just shoot whoever was playing. They let me in for free a lot and I would just wait around after the show to see if the bands noticed me or not and then I'd upload the shots to Flickr (whether they were interested or not). Around that time I was also just starting my career as an editor and a magazine called Game Informer. I was fortunate to travel the world while I worked there and would always bring my camera and shoot for the magazine and for myself.
I like all genres of photography. I generally gravitate towards clean lines with nice pops of chunky contrast. I also really like to focus on a locked moment in time, be it a simple building or a complex group of people. I shoot mostly for black and white but still absolutely love color photography.
It's funny, I define myself as a fine art photographer not for what I shoot, but why. My day-to-day career is focused on a lot of other creative mediums so when I'm shooting on my own the aim is to take a photo that's really impactful for myself or hopefully if I'm lucky, someone else. So I guess my definition, from my view, is why not what. Though the concept of fine art is often dictated by those who view it rather than make it so I could be way off the mark!
I think shooting very specific things is the best way to learn photography as a skill but learning why you want a photo or anything you do to elicit a certain response from someone helps teach a lot more than just a strong skill set. Other photographers are a huge part. Both ,artists I could only dream to learn from and friends who I go shoot with on a regular basis. I've also learned more recently to seek out types of photos I may never even try to take as inspiration. Really looking at things well beyond my own little internal world constantly charges that battery.
We live in a very frantic world with the advent of things like Instagram. There're unfathomable numbers of photos uploaded every day but through those huge numbers, it's still pretty easy to notice patterns in style since everyone is constantly looking at each other's work. I think most people are expecting the next line to say "try and stand out from the crowd" but actually you should just try. Try everything. See how it makes you feel. What comes more naturally to you as you explore? Find those currents and swim with them. If something really excites you but feels like a chore to do, maybe take that as an inspiration source to focus on something else. Focus on what works for you not someone else or certainly not a platform's trends.
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
What camera(s) did you use? Nikon D7000
What lens(es)? Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 (so says the EXIF data! I don't remember if this is true and have had a lot of old, 'dumb' lenses)
Description of how you captured this shot(s): We discovered a bar literally through a hole in the city walls and some local kids were jumping into the water from a crazy rock. I asked him to jump and before I knew it he was running to leap.
Post production process: Not much! I generally shoot raw, convert to B&W, tune the lows and highs, and call it done. I edit every photo manually and don't really use presets or anything (unless there's a lot in a series).
Location: Rome, Italy
What camera(s) did you use? Olympus OMD E-M1
What lens(es)? M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
Description of how you captured this shot(s): I was walking through Rome, pretty jet-lagged, and remember walking past this alley. I basically had the same stop-and-look moment as this guy so when he walked by, my instinct was that he'd react the same way.
Location: Malibu Canyon, California
What camera(s) did you use? Olympus OM10, Fujifilm Superia 800
What lens(es)? ZUIKO Auto 35mm f/2.8
Description of how you captured this shot(s): This photo is an outtake that missed focus. I love it. I got lucky, that's how I got it. These are the moments I live for with photography.
Post production process: None! Straight from the film scan.
What is the location of the photo(s)? Hollywood/Los Angeles, California
What camera(s) did you use? Olympus OMD E-M1
What lens(es)? M.ZUIKO 75mm f/1.8
Description of how you captured this shot(s): There's a small median where Vine St meets Franklin Ave and the 101 with a great view of many legendary buildings. I should have been shooting with a wider lens but it still turned out.
Post production process: Same as the first photo!
Thank you, Nick, for allowing us to share these photos! Check out more of his photography on his website and on Instagram and Twitter at @robotpants .
Are you interested in being our Top Pic of the Week? Tag #KEHSpotlight in your photos for a chance to be featured.