Saturday, 7 April 2018

Breaking my own rules

Quite where my aversion to the contemporary use of black and white photography has come from, I'm not sure. In part at least it's probably a result of reading about how documentary photography changed from black and white to colour in the 1980s, or thereabouts. Partly, also, from years of shooting colour for slide shows and magazines. Not least because it seems to me that black and white doesn't tell the whole story. When I look at old monochrome photographs these days I find myself wondering what colours things were.

Having spent much of today at the photography auction with my cameras set to black and white (shooting raw so I maintain colour originals but see a black and white preview on the screen) I have realised why some people eschew colour photography. It makes it much easier to make photographs. It simplifies the composition process. It's more graphic and less visually confusing.

It was purely by chance that I started using black and white. I'm not in the habit of checking every frame I take on the back of the camera. In fact much of the time I don't review shots straight away. That's why it took me some time to realise I had the white balance set to 'cloudy'. All the pictures were orange! When I switched back to auto white balance something made me swap to black and white too. probably the contrasty lighting.

What I did find myself doing was making pictures like the ones I used to make when I shot HP5. I was thinking more of making standalone images than pictures which would work together to tell the story. Even so I managed to put a small gallery together - here.

While black and white eliminates the horrible white balance issues in the sale ring, some of the pictures I took only make proper sense in colour.

Although I was mostly using a 'proper' camera I also had the Fuji with me. Yet more inattention to detail saw me ruin a load of shots with that camera. I'd forgotten it was set to electronic shutter. This didn't matter in the big shed where the lighting is a mix of natural and tungsten. In the sale ring there is a crazy mix of lighting, which includes fluorescent. Electronic shutters and fluorescent tubes can result in dark horizontal bars across each frame. That's exactly what happened. A couple of decent pics were ruined. Bugger.

I took the scenic route home. Despite the rain having abated, the dreaded white sky was back in evidence.

No comments: