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About Larry Bean

I am a Landscape Architect with a soft spot in my heart for black and white photography.

Nearly 50 years ago as I began my education in Landscape Architecture there were a couple of semesters of photography in the art department taught by Howard Huff. Although I often had a camera in hand it was Howard who taught us to love and appreciate the elegant art of black and white photography. I have been so grateful for this excellent professor and the impact he has had in my life by way of the enjoyment of photography as art. As taught by Huff, the end result of a satisfying image was always the goal, but we also learned that whole process from seeing the image, the satisfying sound of the shutter release, the development, dodging and burning and finally the magic of seeing the image appear in the developing tray were all part of the appreciation as well.  And, of course through this entire process the images of our heroes of the day such as Adams and Weston were in the back of our minds.

Although Landscape Architecture took over as my primary creative outlet, I have always enjoyed the black and white fine art photography of others. Now there is a camera in my hand again, although digital this time. The magic of the dark room is no longer part of the journey, but the lessons learned in the darkroom and the excitement of seeing an image coming into existence still exist in electronic processing. In fact, considering the post processing control of tonal values and ability to print black blacks and white whites, I am convinced that if they were still alive the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston would have led the charge into digital photography.

Thoughts on Composition in Photography

A few years ago, I began to study the history of black and white photography in the fine art form we know today. I realized that the compositional principles that most influenced photography have their beginnings in the design principles used in architecture and garden design dating back thousands of years. The most commonly used techniques for many photographers come from the European tradition. It started with the discovery of the golden ratio and eventually led to the commonly used rule of thirds. The hallmark of this tradition is that aesthetic quality can be mathematically and intellectually determined. The start of the photographic compositional style that has had the most impact on fine art black and white photography we see today is, I believe, from the Asian tradition. It is known as notan. Notan was practiced beginning in the early 20th century by notable photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and others. The compositional technique they were practicing translates from Japanese as light/dark harmony. Notan can be traced back to the Zen Buddhist monks a thousand years ago. Where the European tradition gives us rules about how to think about the composition of a photograph, the Asian tradition helps the artist to illustrate his/her feelings about the image through finding harmony in the light/dark relationships in the image.

If an image evokes a feeling or emotion not easily put into words, then mission accomplished. I hope you will find images that will cause such a response when viewing any fine art black and white photographs, hopefully even mine.


Awards Exhibitions and Publications


2022

Yellowstone Art Museum, Art Auction 54, jury selected for group exhibit.

Sage Community Arts, invited to 7th Annual National Photography Juried group exhibit

Black and White Magazine: Featured in February 2022 issue, Single Image Contest Winners

15TH Annual International Color Awards: 3 nominations, 1 Honorable Mention

Moscow International Foto Awards: Silver Award - Portrait; Bronze Award - Arch/Industrial   

Minimalist Photography Awards: Honorable Mention

Prix de la Photographie Paris: 1 Gold, 2 Honorable Mentions

Fine Art Photography Awards: Nominated - Nature

Texas State Photo Rodeo International Juried Exhibition. Selected for group   exhibition at Si Gallery, Austin TX

Ryniker-Morrison Gallery, Rocky Mountain College, multiple image exhbit.

2021

Glennie Memorial Nature Salon – Finalist

Photographic Society of America – HM

Moscow International Foto Awards: Bronze - Fine Art/Landscape

LensWork Magazine: Selected for publication in Our Magnificent Planet - 2021

Black and White Spider Awards: Nominated (2) – Nature and Wildlife

ND Awards: HM (2) – Architecture, Nature (Trees)

Monochrome Photography Award: HM (2) Nature, Landscapes

2020

Zebra Awards: Finalist – People and Animals, Abstract, Architecture (2), Landscape (2)

Fine Art Photography Awards: HM (3) – Nature, Travel, and Wildlife

Black and White Spider Awards: Nominated (3) – Architecture, Silhouette, and Nature

Moscow International Foto Awards: Bronze – Architecture Industrial, HM – People Portrait

ND Awards: HM (2) – Seascapes, Architectural-Industrial

Blank Wall Gallery: Selected to Show-Fine Art

2019

Zebra Awards: Finalist – Architecture (4), Landscape and Nature (1)

Black and White Spider Awards: Nominee – Fine Art

Color Awards: Nominee-Travel

ND Awards: HM (3): Long Exposure, Architecture – Industrial, Nature - Landscapes

Monochrome Photography Award: HM - Wildlife

Photographic Society of America – HM

2018

Monochrome Photography Awards: HM – Landscapes

Lake Superior Magazine Photo Contest: Finalist







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