Persona January, 24th 2020 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 248 - Johanna Blankenstein

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 248 – Johanna Blankenstein
Johanna Blankenstein showed her photos in a duo exhibition with Johan Willem (Joop) de Hondt under the title ‘Opposites Attract. With threatening landscapes by Blankenstein in the tradition of black and white photography as opposed to the sleek, digitally stripped images of De Hondt.
They know each other from the IT world. Blankenstein: “It turned out to be a good balance, my heavy photos and the light photos of Joop.”

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There is a lot of drama in her photos. “I prefer abandoned deserted landscapes. Preferably with graphic lines that go somewhere. I like to put the subject in the middle and try out different compositions. My photos must always be balanced in one way or another, this is based on feeling. Especially in black and white, my favorite photography. ”

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We see roads that disappear in the distance. If there should be a motto for the work, it is ‘On the way to the end’, referring to Gerard Reve. “People are destroying a lot in this world. That touches me. I’m quite a pessimist. You can see that in my work. For 90 percent it is black and white.” You almost always see graphic forms coming back. “I love graphic work, also thanks to my education at the Minerva Academy (Groningen).”

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The skies and the dark clouds have something ominous. “It is as if something is waiting for you but what you cannot see. The more dark clouds, the better.” She achieves this by using slow shutter speeds, making it look like the clouds are moving in the photo. But a good dramatic clouds-cape is often enough for a good photo.

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Minerva Academy
The photos also radiate tranquility with all those skies and horizons. “I usually have the subject in the middle, but I am not of the ‘Golden Ratio’. The resting point is under the skies. I am very inspired by the American photographer Ansel Adams with his landscape photos. By the way, I also appreciate the work of Erwin Olaf, who captures landscapes in his own way. ”

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Johanna Blankenstein did photography for a year at the Minerva Academy, but did not continue. “I didn’t like the dark room. I graduated as an illustrator. I then ended up in IT (IBM). At one point we had to use a camera, and I became interested in photography again. The digital camera came on the market and I took pictures of beautiful things, it was a sort of sketchbook with drawings and paintings. ”

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Play with the camera
The D200 Nikon came on the market in 2005. It could do much more. “To learn how to use that camera, I took a course from Peter Dammers at FOAM. We went to play with the device, received assignments for black and white. Especially playing with the shutter speed was fun. I still do that. Now you can even set your shutter speed and wait a while and immediately check the result. ”
It is very relaxing to do. “It does take time. I plan the trips. Where do I have to be? What is the weather like, the position of the sun? Sometimes I come back. “

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She participated in an IPA (International Photography Awards) competition and received an Honorary Mention for architecture and fine art, was included in a book by the Sony Awards and saw one of her photos in the magazine Focus. “But I have exhibited little so far, last year at a gallery in Oudewater and in the past in a few libraries. I would like to exhibit more. There are however a few things involved to get it organized.

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You have to see it
We walk one more time past the photos. The beautiful photo of the EYE Museum seen from the other IJ bank, “A thunderstorm arrived. I was almost struck by the lightning.” The Zeeland Bridge from below, “A tight photo, calm and graphic. You can do almost anything with the tilt-shift lens.” A pier that sticks out in the south of Sweden. “Into the distance. It is the region where the Wallander series takes place.” Hills with forests in Northumberland. “A famous tree, the area of Hadrian’s Wall. If you look closely, you see two people walking down on the left.” A fairy tale forest in the Oostvaardersplassen. “It was super blue, in black and white you get more emphasis on the shape.” An abandoned quarry in Dartmoor with backlit shots of the water hole. “The region of The Hound of the Baskervilles.” And a picture taken from the car of thin pine trees. “You see an East Indian ink effect. A fluke. ”

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Finally, what is her philosophy? “The camera is not really important to me. I can also photograph well with a cheap camera. You have to see it, that’s the most important thing. And then find the balance.”




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