09 Jun Black & White Photography
A Black & White World
Every time I take a picture I wonder how it would look like if it was in Black & White. The result must pass this test because if it doesn’t I just delete the picture. I shoot in colour but I think in Black & White!
I confess that I have a soft spot in my heart for black & white images. It might be because of the first film that I got into my hands and the whole magical procedure that happens in a darkroom: this was, after all, the incentive that charmed me into photography.
Maybe it’s the feeling that two so opposite and symbolic colours, like black and white, can be combined together to present so vividly and clearly all the emotion of the human condition, without the siren of colour navigating the eye onto different paths.
It might be because since my childhood I love looking and feeling all the black and white photographs that hold my family history. Now that I think of it, maybe it’s because I dream in black and white… and this is a way to make my dreams revive into real life…
Dancing with Memories
Nowadays digital photography seems to be the main way of capturing important memories. And the intense use of pocket-sized cameras through mobile phones has transformed the photography process into a social media friendly add-on feature.
While it is true that never before people could have access to so many digital tools to beautify an image, photography still relies completely on the balance between light and shadow. Photography as a notion is writing with light what we see with our own eyes. In a way, light invites the photographer attention to witness and capture a slice of reality and time… pictures freeze time within their frames.
Kodachrome, back in the 30s and 40s, added colour in the mainstream black & white photography. Although many photographers feared that their B&W film photography portfolios would gradually look obsolete, an incredible turnover happened.
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Black and White film photography became an expression of fine art. Today we see excellent B&W Photography works of art in street photography, photojournalism, fashion photography, glamor portraiture and wedding photography and etc.
Photography is one of the most contradictory forms of art. A photography camera can be invasively objective but also absurdly emotional and romantic. Each click captures a moment, an event, a fact, an emotion, a memory and it can also capture the invisible vibes. The immediate nature of photography is more obvious through the digital and less when a photographer is using film.
Digital photography tends to obey in a rhythm of life that is always in a speed mood. On the other hand, film photography adopts a slower pace and permits humans to notice the connection between the photographer and the subject or theme that is been photographed.
Film photography swipes out the element of narcissism, impatience, restlessness, loneliness and isolation. It is much more than just technical details which make a film photograph a piece of art.
Especially B&W photography has the ability to eliminate the unnecessary noise or distraction from an image. The simplicity of black and white tones do all the heavy lifting of unspoken words and emotions… it transforms a picture into a story that reveals the inner truth of the moment.
Take your Time
A film needs time to develop and more time to get them in print and then to be digitized. It can take up to 2 or 3 weeks to get the actual photographs on your hands. Many will wonder, why should they wait for so long when they can have a digital photograph in a minute.
Have you ever visited a friend’s house for a Sunday lunch? After all the delicious food, drinks, talks and maybe a short sofa siesta, have you had these sentimental moments by sharing personal stories from your life or childhood? I am sure you have! In these lazy evenings among friends, the question arises: “Do you have a photo album so we can see together?”
A moment comes where we all want to share our memories with our friends, family members or even with ourselves by looking at photo albums. Traveling to our childhood, family history, younger years, student years, vacation trips, important accomplishments, engagement and wedding day can be so inspiring… but only if there are all gathered in a form that gives a sense that they have a significant value.
Don’t get me wrong… Both digital and film photography are equally important. But film photography and in particular B&W film photography makes any moment a very intimate moment. Your personality and character will shine in ways that you never knew that ever existed…
A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend a one of a kind film photography workshop in Spetses island. Les Anagnou and Justine Milton organized Phos Workshop and gathered the top instructors and vendors around wedding photography.
Being a professional wedding photographer for more than a decade doesn’t mean that you stop learning new ways to capture light. On the contrary, you are always searching opportunities to go beyond your safe zone and try new paths of creation. And exactly that happened in the Phos Workshop!
When you are growing you must spend more time to re-introduce yourself not only to other people but also to all your personal and professional choices you have made. The essence of life is built on how well you know yourself.
The feeling of trust, peace of mind and felicity are my cornerstone values. Like all human beings, I seek for truth, joy and happiness. At no point in this workshop, I expected to redefine the way I see things… It may sound a bit nostalgic but during Phos Workshop, I fell in love again with the art of photography and I remembered why I am a photographer. Because I adore life!