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This stunning photo by Ian Howard won the expert vote in our 'Black & white photography' contest. Here Ian tells us the story behind the image...

"The Holocaust Memorial is situated in the city of Berlin in Germany. The monument consists of a large number of stone blocks of different sizes laid out in a grid pattern across an undulating site. This is a fantastic place to visit if you ever get the opportunity as it is a very poignant memorial to a significant event in world history and a fantastic piece of art in itself.

As soon as I got to the memorial it shouted out to be a monochrome image as it is predominantly monochrome and is a very abstract orientated view.

I was shooting with a D700 using a 24-70mm lens on a sunny day. The key challenge on the site was to find an angle where the blocks increased in size from front to back of the image such that I could fill the vertical aspect of the image with blocks. I then had to get into a position where the blocks overlapped sufficiently to remove the paths without the block shapes infringing on one anther too much. After this it was a case of waiting and waiting for the right person to be in just the right place. I knew I needed a single person in the upper right third as this would give me a focal point, scale and enable the image to be read from left to right. Eventually he arrived!

Post processing was not too difficult and was a simple CS5 conversion with the use of levels to balance out the light. I added a black and white gradient map layer as well and reduced the opacity to around 25%. I often add this as I find it helps the contrast and the tonal range of the image."

You can view more of Ian's photography on his website, at 500px, or at Flickr.

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Eyeteeth ( 3 August 2015)

Fantastic image.


Ian Howard ( 3 August 2015)

Many thanks glad you liked it

Ian Howard




Brian M. (21 November 2015)

Wonderful monochromatic image, love the light and shadow contrast and composition ofcourse

Brian M.

Ian Howard (22 November 2015)

Many thanks for the comment glad you like it
It worked as well as I could have hoped when I shot it

Ian Howard

David Rudd (31 January 2017)

The repeating shapes (stone blocks) each having sides in shadow and in sunlight commands one to look at your compelling image. The man in the upper right adds a dimension which makes the image complete. Well done.

David Rudd

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