On-assignment photoessay: Monolithic

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There’s something about the visual gravity only the deepest registers the monochrome tonal scale can provide; those zones that make or break a good printer and convey tonal richness and texture. Whilst such work tends to be more the preserve of editorial and fine art photography and less so in commercial, I can’t help myself from seeing such subjects during the course of a cleaner, higher key commercial assignment. There are always structural and physical elements of such massiveness as require these tonal registers to do them justice; I shoot and file them away for later personal satisfaction. Overcast weather may be the bane of most commercial available light work, but it matters not a bit in this case. This particular set is the curation of several assignments; there’s a deliberate change in pace between the images where the monolithic element may be the entire frame, or just a small (but visually heavy) part of it. Or it may be an otherwise light-coloured subject but still somehow that sort of chalky, textured grey… MT

This series was shot with a Nikon Z7, D850, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/4 VR. No post processing, just the monochrome picture control from the Z7/D850 profile pack…

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. Beautiful images, but just to verify… you made these photographs while working on a commercial assignment, right? It was that assignment that provided the access for at least some of the points of view you worked from in these images, wasn’t it? I’m thinking that without permission or sponsorship, it’s generally a bad idea to crawl around a construction site, even if your objective is artmaking.

    • Thanks. Yes, on assignment with safety officer/ spotter/ client present. No, it would be a very, very bad idea (and probably illegal) to randomly wander in yourself. 🙂

  2. Amazing! Love those lines

  3. Spencer H. says:

    How do you find the balance of the 70-200/4 on the z body? Not too front heavy?

  4. hmm…. why do you have to remind me of work?

  5. Amazing pictures! Love the compositions!

  6. 😍

  7. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    +2 – one, you’re an extraordinary photography – and two, – you have “the eye”!
    Great post!

  8. This are great masterpieces of blackandwhite art. Your eyes for details in a city are fantastic. A pitty that my hometown is really small and there is no chance to shoot anything like your work. I’m from a rural areal and I know I wouldn’t notice this city-details direct in front of me. Thank you for sharing those pictures with us!

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