What B&W photography means to me

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Near U Pain Bridge - Amarapura, Mandalay, Burma

Black and white photography has always been a keen interest of mine.

What I love about it is how well it engages with the viewer both visually and emotionally. It has the ability to tell a story so effectively and succinctly and for me it’s about reading into those stories and creating your own details. Even though it seen as one of the more accessible forms of the visual arts, I feel it is still a wonderfully expressive and tangible art form.

Moving over to digital over the decade has been liberating; the immediateness and instant satisfaction is really addictive and allows you to be more spontaneous and playful. It also means that you have to adapt quickly to improve results and be more creative in finding solutions to visual problems. What I’ve missed however, is the connectedness with the subject when using an EVF (electronic view finder), you miss the small things, like interesting movements of light or little details, which can really make all the difference. I’ve made up for this now by acquiring a Fujifilm X-100. I’ve been hanging on for a Nikon SLR, but this has everything that I look for in a camera. It’s compact (well compared to a SLR at least!) and best of all it has a bright and useful hybrid OVF (optical view finder) which gives that connectedness back.

Ultimately, the gear just facilitates the experience for a photographer, and for me it is being connected with everyday people in everyday places. This is why I love street photography and photojournalism, the places and subjects may be distant or foreign but the feelings and stories that are told through a photo communicate directly to the viewer and there is a sense of immediate connectedness.

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