To be honest, I never really enjoyed black and white photos.
At first, I didn’t see any point of being black and white. Colour pop was one of the important things I considered when it came to photographs. I learnt about art from all my art major friends back in university. They never taught me but I always tagged along whenever they have projects to do in the studio.
Most of my friends were doing painting back then. And I know that, NO ONE was doing a ‘black and white’ painting. I know right? It sounds ridiculous even just saying it. Black and white painting? Doesn’t even make sense.
That’s where my photograph sort of started. Black and white photographs? Come on, where is the point in that? How would I be able to tell the story with black and white?
What changed my perspective was not from a photograph of someone famous, nor was it from a famous photographer. It was just me. A friend photographed me in black and white and showed it to me. She thought it was a great shot. I wasn’t posing. I was just tired and sitting on top of a bench. I looked at the photo and realised, my emotion was coming from my face, my body but not from the colour of my skin tone or the colour of my jeans.
Since I haven’t had proper education in photography back then, I had an idea but it really didn’t come close to me.
Only recently, I realised, how much impact a black and white can give. I started doing more and more black and white works, and enjoying so much. And you know what? a 10,000 NZ dollars Leica M Monochrom camera never looked so attractive!
In black and white, you don’t worry about colours. Well, it’s not entirely true, but you don’t show any colour in the resulting image, so yeah, you don’t worry about it.
Exposure is easier to control. There’s only one scale to worry about. Grey scale. No over saturation, no white balance to worry about. By the way, all these matter when you want to nail the exposure.
I was more accepting to blurs and noise in the photographs. It never stopped from telling the story. Instead, it was telling even stronger than ever, when in colour, you sort of think ‘ah… this is technologically wrong’ automatically.
When you don’t see the colour in the photograph, you focus into something else. Emotion. Life of the photograph. What’s happening beyond the photograph? You get to really understand and start to feel ‘with’ it.
I love black and whites now.
I love how it tells the story.
I love that you can make the photographs stronger, heavy impact.
I love that I can focus on one less thing and put more effort into the story.
I wish now, maybe one of the couples in the future would want to have black and white only photographs for their wedding! Oh yeah… for the first couple who decides that, we can discuss for a discount! hehe.