Most of my friends and family keep wondering why I deliberately ruin my photos shooting in Black and White. After all, the real world is in color. And the pictures I used to take were in color, and beautiful. Why change?
all the colors in the rainbow
At the beginning, my work was entirely shot in color. Very soon, I learned to take advantage of the light and started to rely heavily on sunrise and sunset times to make my images.
Like a vast majority of the photos that are trendy today, my pictures were all about that golden hour, the gorgeous colors and warm tones that happen at dawn and dusk. What I was taking a photo of didn't really matter.
Most importantly, they were snapshots, records of history, a capture of a brief moment in life. Something to keep to remember that instant.
finding my own voice
The problem for me was that I couldn't find my own voice doing this kind of work. I wasn't creating what I wanted to create, I was just capturing what happened in front of me. I needed something more creative to be satisfied.
Eventually, I got burnt out.
I decided to try black and white, not only because I thought a change would be good but also hoping to make my photography a little bit more "artistic". It didn't work. I kept making the same kind of images, the only difference being that then I'd convert them to monochrome.
Even though I was taking the same pictures as before, there was something about B&W that I enjoyed. I persisted. And over time, this fundamentally changed the way I made images.
It took me a long time, but I learned to use the lack of colors as the creative tool that it is, instead of being the goal.
I realized that color was just too normal. Removing the colors was a way to depart from reality and therefore, to find my own and unique vision of the world.
Instead of telling stories with images, I saw the potential on the other way around: letting the viewer create their own story. Black and white makes an image more open to interpretation, adding mystery to the frame, showing an alternative view of what surrounds us.
This makes possible (and easier) for the artist to create an abstract reality. I don’t always succeed (I don’t, most of the time actually), but that’s what I aim for.
Along with black and white, I also adopted other techniques that help me achieve this: long exposures, color filters and even square format.
what is photography for you?
I still shoot color, you can see by yourself. I use my digital camera to capture a visual journal of my life. My art is something different, though.
As I started to understand better what I wanted to create with photography, my main body of work and all my new projects were made in black and white. For me, it is a fundamental tool to make the images I want to make.
This change in my photography has allowed me to share what I see, my unique vision of a place and a time. Not better or worse, just something somewhat specific to me.
Black and White helps me answer a question I had in my mind since I picked up a camera: "what is photography for me?".
What is photography for you?