Monochrome

Shoot in black and white 

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What was the original photographic style has today become a sort of special effect. Black and white was the norm due to the technical possibilities back in the days.

Since the sixties, colour photos gradually took over more and more. I began my photographic life in 1969, and I took colour photographs from the very beginning. It was not untill the time when I learned how to process my own photos in the darkroom that I began using monochrome technique.

 Today I shoot digital only, processing photos in a photo editing program. I still make monochrome pictures. I make them mostly for two purposes:

    1. In order to capture the expression and mood of a person with a portrait photograph.

    2. In order to emphazise graphic effects - lines and textures - in nature or landscape photographs mostly.

The stark, gritty nature of the black and white medium gives the photographs a very special appeal. In the case of portraits, it seems to me that colours are very often a distraction. A well executed portrait potograph in black and white brings forth the real spirit of the portrayed person. With black and white you´re left to consider the real essence of meaning, and it´s integral parts. People seem to look at a monochrome portrait with more intent. It simply carries more impact than colour, whatever the reason.

 


The ability to work with a photograph in a photo editor gives you unique opportunities to emphazise shapes, lines and texture. Using Channel Mixer, Curves, Unsharp Mask and other tools will make you able to produce an almost abstract composition from an everyday natural phenomenon. 

The below photograph is taken on a grey day by a stream of water. Using a slow shutter speed of 1/4 of a second made the water blur just enough to show movement, yet not too much to take away the character of the water. Using half an hour fiddling about in Photoshop made the result you see here.

In my opinion this wouldn´t have had half the impact in colour.

 

 

If you are in a situation where you feel that you´ve seen it all and have become bored with the same motives over and over again, my advice to you would be to concentrate on monochrome for at least a couple of months. I think you´ll find that the photographic world becomes new to you again. This is an exellent way to see the world as new.

Trust me. Try it.