Marshall Gould’s sharp, high contrast black-and-white photographic prints can be characterized by diagonal framing, clean compositions, dramatic highlights and strong, luxurious shadows. Often taking candid, documentary-style shots on location, Gould’s latest subject matter might involve an American veteran cemetery or a homeless person, making these gritty works as conceptually dense as they are compositionally superb. Usually incorporating elements of the earth and/or sky, Gould’s works are about co-existence and reference the stylistic philosophies of early black-and-white “Golden Age” photography including the classic work of Ansel Adams. Adopting the mantra “Think globally and shoot locally,” Gould carries his camera every time he leaves the house, aiming to convey a vibrant and provocative visual narrative about the land, culture and residents of his current locale.
Marshall Gould was born in Providence, Rhode Island and received his Bachelor of Industrial Design from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University. He currently works in Oakdale, CA, known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” and Silicon Valley.
While I use the most current digital camera equipment, post processing software and digital printers, my style and technique are more reminiscent of the Golden Era of Black & White Photography from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. The backbone of my technical process, both “in camera,” post processing and printing is a total commitment to a mastery of the Zone System, which Ansel Adams developed and perfected over his career. At the center of my creative process, are both storytelling and elevating the beauty and emotions of my subjects, which are often semi-wild horses from a nearby ranch. These beautiful, yet rugged horses roam on an expansive ranch in Northern California in a semi-wild environment. Although they are bred by the rancher each year and have some very limited contact with humans, they are left to run wild, graze, mate, and birth all in a very natural state. The wide-open ranch land is both harsh and breath taking and makes a perfect backdrop for photographing these magnificent animals living the way have for thousands of years. Stylistically, I try to use the smallest possible focal length lens, thereby forcing me to get a close as possible to my subject. I want to covey an intimate understanding of my subject. Artistically, exquisite composition and lighting rule my work. Recently, I have begun to incorporate a more sophisticated style and elegance into my work which is increasingly influenced by the work of the great portrait and fashion photographers from the last 75 years, making my images less documentary in nature and more like fine art environmental portraits. This artistic development and refinement over the last couple of years has produced works that are attracting a broader and more sophisticated art audience. Lastly, in terms of presentation, especially with photographing large animals like horses, I have found that the size/scale of the final printed image is very important, which is why I have begun to print life size whenever possible. The final works of art, when all of this is working in harmony, are beautiful, stunning and evocative Black & White Fine Art Photographic Images.