Sunday, March 16, 2014

Homage to Malevich and the Suprematists with the Fuji X-T1

In 1918 the avant garde Russian artist and founder of the Suprematist art movement, Kasimir Malevich, painted his purely abstract compostion, "White on White" -- a skewed white square painted onto a square canvas also painted white. As manifestations of the Suprematist art manifesto with its basis in pure artistic feeling, this painting, along with "Black Square" painted in 1915 revolutionized the art world and finalized its departure from a reliance on real-world subjects, introducing instead completely non-objective, abstract geometric compositions. They seem tame by today's standards, but were quite shocking for their time.

Kasimir Malevich Suprematist compositions, "White on White", 1918, and "Black Square", 1915.
Every now and then I give myself a photographic exercise based on a theme. This weekend I decided to pay homage to Malevich by limiting my palette to purely abstract compositions in black and white. While Malevich used paint, photographers use light and shadow to create fluctuations in tones.

I set my X-T1 camera to square format and black & white and used two lenses, the 60mm macro and the 56mm f/1.2 with a Nikon 6T close-up lens on it. In both cases I set the camera to manual focus because I was shooting wide open and wanted to place the focus point in very specific locations. I usually shoot the Fuji  X cameras in RAW plus jpg. Most of these images were from the original jpg compositions with a bit of post-processing added contrast.

Folded papers and shadows

Folded newspapers

Paper corner

Chair in morning light

Folded sheet of paper near a window

Shadow reflection of leaves on a window sill

Vent with shadow

Open book, study 1

Open book, study 2

Two sheets of paper with shadow

The white blouse

Tulips with window frame

Discarded white towel on the sidewalk

Diagonal street stripes and tar

Empty store window sign -- probably my most Malevich-like composition

The look - my least Malevich-like compostion, but I couldn't resist the eyes


  1. Thank you for the great article. I really enjoyed the photos. I especially enjoy the Leaves reflection on the window sill. This is a great reminder that it isn't where we may travel, but how we view the world we're in that truly gives us power as a photographer.

  2. Clever, well done!

  3. I REALLY enjoyed this series. Nicely done. Something to be said for simplicity in subject.