A screenplay: “It’s there just beneath the surface” and then someone screams!
You of course remember ‘Jaws’, the epic shark movie. You remember the shot of the beautiful, calm sunlit sea, a lovely blue sky overhead. Then the music starts, that heavy pulsing beat getting louder and louder, you just know there’s a monster out there waiting to break through the surface and swallow you up.
Well if you’r not too scared and want to continue reading that’s the way I feel about black and white photography. It’s out there, lurking, and it’s going to have a proper resurgence. Sure street photographers have been shooting away with Kodak Tri-x and Ilford HP5 film in their Leicas while the ‘digital revolution’ has rolled on. Occasionally I see a black and white print from another photographer pass through the gallery, in truth however most of the black and white I see are photographs from the 50’s or earlier that come in for restoration. I like black and white, several of my favourite pictures from the last, oh I don’t know how many years, are black and white. My photographs ‘Jack the Ripper’ and ‘White Horse’ just done cut it in colour. Jack The Ripper photograph was shot in London’s Spitalfieds, taken in the area of the original murders just doesn’t work for me in colour, the colour detracts from the moving figure in the alleyway and lessens the impact of the image. Same with the ‘White Horse’ picture, I drove past the horse in the field twice a day for four days before the horse was finally in the right position, and then it became obvious it could only ever be a black and white photograph as far as I was concerned. Again the colours weakened the image and lessening the impact. It’s a white horse with black trees behind, does it need colour ? I don’t think so.
What got me thinking about this at this particular time? Well Leica make the £5000 plus M Monochrome camera, it doesn’t shoot colour just B & W and I learned yesterday from www.sonyalpharumours.com that Sony are developing a full frame camera to challenge it. So two digital camera that just shoot B& W and of course there absolutely nothing to stop you converting your own colour images into B & W. A quick look on the internet shows Kodak, Ilford, Kentmere and Lomography all offering black and white film, visitors to our gallery say how they ‘love black and white, you can’t beat it’, so what are we all sitting waiting for ? I think I can hear that music, a heavy, pulsing beat getting louder……
Technical info: ‘Jack the Ripper’ – Nikon D80 handheld with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom at 15mm. The exposure was 1/8th of a second with an aperture of f4.2 the ISO was 200. ‘White Horse’ – Nikon D80 handheld with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom at 10mm. The exposure was 1/60th of a second with an aperture of F9, the ISO was 200.