Writing visual poetry with R-A-I-N

It’s been almost three years since we started working on our R-A-I-N project. Since then we have not only embraced shooting in the R-A-I-N but have also fallen in love with it. I feel that photographing on sunny days is like writing a job assignment but shooting in the R-A-I-N is like writing a poem. It’s incredibly inconvenient due to the technical challenges of course, but also more difficult from a seeing perspective.

Everything around you is subtle, masked, almost hidden. When all the natural elements are hassling your body, you must concentrate twice as hard. You must observe more intensely and craft the imagery from very scarce elements. Then there is the light or rather lack of it. At least that appears to be the case for those who are not looking. It was certainly the hardest part when I started this project. However, with time you learn to see the light in different dimensions – even the slightest glimmer makes a difference. As I said, this is a subtle process.

The project R-A-I-N has also reinforced my stand on something else. In this almost psychotic search for sharpness, I embraced un-sharpness. This silky, hazy, muted appearance is something I often look for in my seeing. In this way I find images that are not plastic, perfect and surgical but rather poetic and frail as if they have soul. I am well aware that many of you will disagree but something is telling me that the age of sharpness in digital photography is coming to an abrupt end (topic for another discussion). Shouldn’t it be all about rendition and mood?

Then there’s colour. There is no question that we all long for perfect early morning or late afternoon light. This light spices up our images and gives them a new dimension. I never thought that R-A-I-N could do the same – or even more – until I started shooting extensively in rainy conditions. What colour! What depth!

Interestingly, these are not my favourite R-A-I-N images! For me the real visual poetry comes from a fusion of R-A-I-N and the atmosphere of the black and white film or simulation. These images are not loud or always easy for consumption but somehow stay with me longer. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know.

There is so much more I would like to share with you about this project but I should probably stop for now. Just yesterday I was shooting new material for the project, some of which you will find below plus some older imagery. I am also writing an in-depth “HOW IT WAS SHOT” series about R-A-I-N project for my Simplicity-In-Seeing subscribers, which I will share on this blog.

For those of you who would like to fall in love with photographing R-A-I-N, I would like to invite you to my Project R-A-I-N: Photography Workshop here in Vancouver, February 23-15, 2018. During this unique workshop, we will be studying and working together to produce a special and different body of work. So if you are crazy enough to dream, see and write poetry with R-A-I-N and want to do something new and exciting with your photography, join me in Vancouver. Look forward to seeing you there!

Here is our imagery, all taken with the X-Pro2 and various lenses.

 

and R-A-I-N in B&W…

 

 

 

2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.

 

 

15 thoughts on “Writing visual poetry with R-A-I-N

  1. hi Olaf
    If I had to pick just 1 here it would definitely be the back of the old guy with his head low down: that’s great! serious graphical impact and contrast of his dark matt clothes and shiny street, and you can just feel his age and the dampness.

    I’m

    Some of the colour ones remind me of Saul Leiter – and that’s no bad thing! – especially the blue umbrella on the crossroads

    all the best,
    David

    1. David,

      I truly enjoyed reading your eloquent interpretation of my imagery. Thank you so much for sharing this.

      Looking forward to your future notes.

      Regards,

      Olaf

  2. I have always enjoyed pointing my camera out in the rain. I have photographed weddings, architecture, all sorts of scenics and family while getting soaked in the rain. Gosh have I got wet. However, there is the deep colours and the ever changing mood that one can capture when the world around us and the subjects we photograph are involved in a rainy day.
    I enjoyed your article and thoughtful photographs Olaf.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience of shooting in the rain. There is no question than working in wet conditions is sometimes challenging but so rewarding if done right. I thought it was just me – this crazy guy with a camera but I am so pleased to hear that you and many others share the joy of photographing R-A-I-N. I would love to see some of your images. Look forward to hearing from you again.

      All the best,

      Olaf

  3. “Seeing” in the rain, what a challenge! The imagery appears fantastic to me. It gets “atmosphere”, they lead me to a ethereal, timeless sensations. I like specially the colours, they appear more subtle and delicate, but real and true life at the same time. I decided to take some time to enjoy slowly, all of them, at full big screen.

    Best regards

  4. Excellent work Olaf. You articulate in expressing your feelings about the rain very well.
    I feel similarly. It is a more exclusive performance required by the photographer (in difficult conditions) to capture the atmosphere whilst most are fleeing and taking cover.

    1. Richard,

      I really appreciate your kind note. You are right! Shooting in the R-A-I-N appears to be a very unique experience as visuals in front of you are much different than during sunny days.

      Warm Regards,

      Olaf

  5. Dear Olaf,
    Simply beautiful. There is such a soulful experience when looking at the black and white images.
    Kindest regards
    Tracy

    1. Tracy,

      Thank you. You are right, there is something special about the B&W imagery. I am planning to shoot extensively this year, more in B&W. Looking forward to your future thoughts.

      Regards,

      Olaf

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