For Peter Madsen, Black and White is Photography’s Version of ‘Less Is More’ (Premium)

All Images by Peter Madsen, Used With Permission.

Hailing from the internationally known city of Copenhagen, Denmark, Peter Madsen shoots a wide variety of images, from commercial to landscape, in color and black and white. Mr. Madsen’s work on his Snowdonia series is incredible–an excellent example of black and white landscape imagery.

What makes black and white photography so important to you?

Currently, what I’m exploring in my photography, is how to simplify my work, and cut away all unnecessary stuff, that does not contribute to the final motif. Instead of depicting what was in front of my camera when I shoot the picture, I’m trying to create the idea of the motif. Instead of showing this is exactly how it looked, I want to transfer the atmosphere I experience.

Cutting away color, and only showing neutral tones is one way of simplifying. Another example is when I make portraits. It never fails that when converting to black and white, the portrait gets much more intense. Again I think it’s because “Less is more”. If you put to much information into anything, you diminish the final impression. By being more specific, and only emphasizing what’s important, the work will be stronger.

What inspires you to create photographs?

Often the motifs demand to be photographed. It is as if the image is already there, it’s just waiting to be taken. I guess I see things others don’t, simply because of my background, and what fascinates me. When I think about it, there is a clear connection between what fascinated me as a child (comics, TV series etc.) and what I’m inspired by today. I guess it’s a way of showing the rest of the world what I see, and thus trying to explain why I find it fascinating. Just like the child saying “Come, look what I’ve found.”
Somehow photography can express things I can not put into words, but still feel the urge to express.

Why is black and white photography so important to our future in the art world?

I think the world would be a poorer place if it wasn’t for black and white photography. Like I mentioned above, black and white photography has something, that can not be replaced by anything else. It’s like imagining the art of sculpting without stone.

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