Photographer Andrew Koch Captures Contrasts in Downtown Denver

You can find art all over town — not just on gallery walls. In this series, we look at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

“Photography is just a hobby, really,” says Colorado native Andrew Koch, who turned his so-called hobby into a collection of black-and-white abstract and architectural studies, now showing at St. Mark's Coffeehouse through July 31.  “All of the photos on display right now are iPhone photos,” says Koch, who started shooting on film. “I loved that, but you only have so many shots, and you have to wait days to get it developed, and...”

The iPhone, by contrast, offers unlimited opportunity and immediate gratification. Plus, Koch notes, “Everyone’s got a phone, and it makes it so convenient to have your camera with you everywhere you go.”

Over the past year, he used his phone to create this black-and-white collection. 
Koch took a trip to New York City with his son in December, and one of the best parts of that trip was “just walking around the street, taking pictures,” he recalls.

He likes to take pictures here at home, too. “Locally, nothing beats Capitol Hill,” he says. “I love Cheesman Park and also downtown. I love the contrast between the old Victorian buildings and the new skyscrapers.”

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His love of contrast shows in his photos. “All of my work is black and white, partially because I’m colorblind,” Koch explains. He shoots in color on his iPhone, then “shifts them to black and white. Then I dial up the contrast and dial down the brightness."

The result is a really, really sharp image. “The technology has made it possible to do a lot of interesting things with the photos,” says Koch. 

“I like photographing things that look a little familiar, but with a different slant so you aren’t sure which way is up,” he adds. He’s particularly interested in angles and reflection, and how these elements can naturally contribute to depth and contrast.
Koch may call himself a hobbyist, but he’s not an amateur. The photographer studied art as an undergraduate, twenty-some years ago. “But I never had really homed in on a style until this past year,” he says.

By day, Koch teaches in the Jefferson County Public Schools; he also trains incoming teachers at the University of Colorado Denver.  The teacher/photographer is a cartoonist, too, and does the monthly flier for Mutiny Information Cafe’s Epilogue Comedy show. For more information on Koch, visit his website

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