Introducing “Noir” Photography
Introducing “Noir Photography”
The New style of Fine Art Photography
Introducing Noir Photography
The title for this gallery is “Noir”. The images shown in this collection are excellent examples of what I am now coining as “Noir” styled photography. Not to be confused with its great-great-grandfather “Film Noir” photography. While both of these styles share a name in common, that is the extent of what they actually have in common begins and ends.
“Film Noir” originated between the 1940’s and 50’s in Hollywood. It consisted of very dramatic overtones with harsh shadows. Film Noir used low-key lighting with rough black and white contrasts inspired by the 1920’s-30’s German Expressionist era of cinema production. Film Noir is dark and is usually closely correlated with crime or some other form of nefarious segment of society or culture.
“Noir” is French for “Dark” thus the term “Film Noir” means “Dark Film” or “Dark Photos”. “Noir” photography is the style of photography that is similar to “Film Noir” in that it is dark but it should be so much more. Noir Photography can be about any subject and can be either positive or negative or both depending on the subject and composition. Unlike Film Noir which is usually synonymous with the underbelly of society.
When Film Noir was being used as a form of style in the 1940’s and 50’s, there was no such thing as digital images. In the 1940’s and 50’s there was no such thing as computerized software platforms such as “Photoshop” or “GIMP” or “NIK” filters etc. Today, very few people still shoot with film and its extremely limited ability to be manipulated. Within that difference of manipulation, the concept of Noir Photography developed. The ability to make subjects shine in the darkness, the ability to use filters to turn ordinary darkened images into mesmerizing works of art is causing Film Noir to morph and evolve into this new generation of photography; Noir Photography.
When you are reviewing the images below, most of us photographers would probably just relegate this style of photography to something simple and neat such as “fine art”. Would you be wrong? Absolutely not! You would not be incorrect. Is Noir Photography” a more accurate and modern way of viewing and classifying these works of art? Absolutely yes!
Over the next 6 months I plan on showcasing Noir Photography for the world to see and enjoy. If you or if someone you know enjoys shooting Noir Photography and they want to be published, please just contact me.
Noir Photography Gallery
Film Noir had elements of sexiness within its composition. The basic foundation for any film noir cinematic movie was always the infamous “Femme Fatale” thus it carried over to Film Noir photography as well. What separates “Noir Photography” from “Film Noir” is that Noir Photography leans towards being more “Erotic” than sexy. The differences might sound minimal to some but to the trained eye of the photographer, we both know that those are two totally different expressions of sexuality. This piece by Evgeniy Potanin is an excellent example of the eroticism of noir photography.
Noir Photography as a style is far from new. Soft Screams Magazine simply decided to give a name to a style of photography that has been a part of our repertoire for years. While Noir Photography is considered to be a style of Fine Art Photography, some spillage into other genres will occur. This image by the legendary Helmut Newton is the perfect example of this phenomena. This image was taken years ago back in the 1970’s and at the time it was considered to be an “Editorial” image, yet it is more of a vintage looking Noir Photograph. Notice the backdrop is an off-white but the subject is almost “blackened”. The subject is not a femme fatale type and the strange positioning gives her a submissive posture which makes it erotic.
Even “beauty” images can be considered a Noir Photograph depending on the composition. This image by Jamie Hollands is breathtaking and while it appears to be a sensual hybrid of both beauty and fine art photography, the darkness which is used as a prominent form of expression, places it firmly into the Noir Photography style.
This image by Mark Tizard is a mesmerizing fine art piece which is almost abstract but it would be considered a “Noir Photograph as well. Notice the dark subject matter soft lighting, and lack of shadows. This image has a “fetish” feel about it so the eroticism is in play as well.
To keep with this dark theme, I chose to incredible image called Occulta by Yannick Faure. What makes this image such a powerful piece is how the background is as artistic as the subject itself. Yannick blended the tissue paper covering the model to be blended into the background to give it an extra textured feel. The overall darkness of the subject and the lighting makes this piece a very powerful example of Noir Photography.
The tight cropping, monochromatic editing, and the dark masks gives this abstract piece by Edmund Ho a delicious Noir Photography aesthetic.
Blackness, blood, dark make-up, and eyes clenched shut as if she is in ecstasy. Photographer Tom Andres did an stupendous job of utilizing all pure elements of good Noir Photography with a strange fetish vibe about it.
This piece by dynamic fashion photography duo Louigi and Iango is mouth watering lushes! Just like the image above by Helmut Newton, this image is supposed to be a Fashion Editorial image, and yes, it is. However, the creativity and dark elements used in this image allows for it to crossover to the Noir Photography genre.
This is one of the three pieces in this collection that inspired me to write this article. This piece by one of the most gifted artists in the world Serge Lutens just made me feel so overwhelmed that I had to share it with all of you. This is Noir Photography incarnate. The brightness of the subject surrounded by the darkness, the eroticism caused by the soul-less beauty of within the eyes of the model just smothers you with artistry.
Before you scroll down the entire image, please stop the image at her shoulders and marinate on the visuals of her intense and powerful facial expressions. Look into the darkness behind her eyes. The subjects dark hair surrounded by the darkness and the darkness within her eyes makes this piece by Emanuele Romeo not just an artistic masterpiece but an important one in the development of the Noir Photography genre.