High Key | Low Key

Some photographic image are not only describable by it’s composition, content, context, colors but in terms of what I call “the look”. There are many looks (or styles) of images I can think of, such as the grainy look from old film, the Polaroid look with it’s crappy colors, the sepia look, the blurry look and much more. Many magnificent photographers, like Martin Parr for example, have a look to their image, that is even unique to them. It’s about styling an image up to be visually different from the standard settings through colors, techniqual tweaks and exposures.

A few months ago, I went to see the newest pictures at one of the Lumas galleries. There were pictures of people standing in the desert, but what was so remarkable about them, was that they were extremely overexposed (or extreme “high key”). The series motives were simple, but the overall “look” was unconventional and very intriguing.

I took the two pictures above on a beach around Cape Point in South Africa a few months ago. I found the images rather boring until I started playing around with extreme over and under exposures (called low- and high-key). The results seemed pleasant to me and the contrast that these two images present make them stronger than the two original images that you can see as thumbnails here below. In the future, I will write more about different looks and styles that I came to apreciate over time.

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