“My passion is black and white,” said fine art photographer Andrew Branning, in a triumph of understatement.
Branning’s work is breathtaking. You will notice his use of light and dark and his reverence for nature generally and the South Carolina Lowcountry specifically.
The official opening reception of his “Fine Art Photography by Andrew Branning,” is from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at Four Corners Fine Art and Framing, 1263-B May River Road, Bluffton.
But Branning is seeing to the installation of his work during the next few days, and I encourage you to drop in for a closeup look. But do attend the reception, too, to meet Branning and discuss his work and his unique seven shades of black and white printing process.
Pay special attention to Branning’s “Lone Oysterman III.” The image is amazing, and the impact will stay in your memory for a very long time.
Don’t overlook a photograph featuring a line of shrimp boats at a picturesque dock.
Branning is Lowcountry born and nurtured. He started in Beaufort, was schooled on Hilton Head Island and then headed to North Carolina, where he graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury with a degree in business.
About five years ago, he provided some photographs for his mother’s cookbook. He found himself positioned not only in the world of publishing, but drawn into photography.
Branning explained that he was really a self-taught photographer who understood over time that he loved shooting images which defined the Southern lifestyle, especially those set against a natural setting.
“What I really loved was being out in the Lowcountry, taking photographs in black and white of natural settings — waterways, oyster beds, fallen trees, sea grasses — and especially meeting up with the people whose lives completely relied on those challenging South Carolina settings for their livelihood.”
Branning’s accounting of his precise photograph and printing process is complicated and exacting. Nothing he does is accidental nor without planning. He shoots with a Nikon D4S camera, which he explains is all about the professional glass. Glass, he points out, creates a level of sharpness unavailable in any other format.
His printer is years old. He found it in an old shop in Jacksonville. He was able to rework it and prepare it to handle the seven shades of black and white to which he always addresses himself.
“I work for a dynamic range in the inks I use,” said Branning. “With my old and restored Epson printer, I’m able to create a kind of sepia look using high-end, museum archival quality paper, which accomplishes the saturation levels of my seven shades of black and white.”
Even in this digital age, the photograph really comes from the soul and the mind of the photographer. Clearly, the photographer creates the image, adds the data, communicates the vision and then tells the story.
And Andrew Branning is a gifted storyteller.
Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.