Friday, November 30, 2012

Field Of View: The Photography of Bob Burkhardt

We all have experienced being with someone who seems only able to take in a small percentage of what is actually around them. Someone who can be surrounded by beauty, a field of wild flowers yet...they only see weeds. Someone who can stand in front of an majestic piece of architecture and only see the flaws. I have an aunt who cannot see the beauty of any pet, the most regal of dogs or cutest of kittens, because the possible fur that will left on her furniture or floors is all she is able to visualize.

We all have a field of view, and it differs from person to person. The extent to which we are able to visually take in our world at any given moment depends on many factors from the biological to the psychological. Sometimes our previous interactions with someone or something dictate our ability to see it clearly. Sometimes our past experiences with a holiday, an event, a setting can limit our ability to focus on it without restriction.

Above: ERodregas

There are some photographers, even many whose work I love, that have restrictions in focus. For any number of reasons, many seem to be only able to see a penis, a body, forgetting there is a man attached. For others, color is everything, while others see only in black and white. Many cannot seem to focus on anything but the model yet for some artists, the model is secondary to all that surrounds them.

Below: Brandon Kennedy

The most frustrating photo is the one we have all seen. An incredibly sexy man, clearly photogenic, with a great body, amazing face and eyes. The photographer however, seems to have no clue how to frame him, pose him or light him. Often it is assumed this is due to lack of skill or experience, but more often than not, I think it is due to a limited field of view.

Below: Camell

Atlanta photographer Bob Burkhardt has a vast field of vision. Bob reports his actual professional training in photography is minimal, but that his years of experience in design have given him an eye for composition and the use of light. As with all artists I profile, my first experience with there work usually begins with just one image. With Bob Burkhardt, it was the image of Marvin which I used as pic of the day. The depth of his field of view was immediately evident with the lighting and use of color, the pose, the angle, the placement of the one piece of furniture. Every frame and aspect of the image was seamlessly planned and seen.

'I started working as a photographer about 15 years ago. Initially much of that time was spent shooting landscapes, flowers and architecture. I’ve always dabbled with shooting nudes, but never seriously pursued that interest until a modeling agency approached me five years ago. It took only one session before I was completely hooked.'

Below: Chris Rich

'My graphic design background draws me to create clean, crisp imagery. Light, and the way it interacts with a subject, fascinates me. My focus is on details, whether capturing a mood or following that alluring trace of light as it disappears sensuously down a subject’s back. I find inspiration in the work of George Hurrell, John Todaro, Maya Guez and Todd Hido. I strive to lure the viewer into his work, whether it is flowers, landscapes architecture or the human form... hopefully transforming my subject into an outstanding visual.'

My field of view for FH is a wide one but the focus is of course being the male form. As incredible as Burkhardt's images of men are, I found myself equally captivated by his other works, especially his architectural images. After 30 years as a graphic designer, Bob left his career to pursue his photography and opened a gallery with his partner. Bob co-owns and exhibits his own work in the pb&j gallery which features new openings about every two months. The current exhibit, Frames of Reference ends tonight and Art for the Holidays begins December 8th and runs through January 12th. In Bob's profile on the pb&J site you can see some of his other works and some of my favorite images are the architectural images especially his image of The Shiloh School in Hartwell GA. I also love his miscellaneous category which features many shots of windows, which regular readers of FH may remember is a favorite theme of mine within photography.

Below: Samuel Troupe

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