Almost exactly a year ago, I decided for myself to take pictures in black and white only. By removal of the colour, the lights and shadows move into the foreground.
Therefore, it enables the viewer to have more attention on the contrasts, leading lines, structures and composition. If the picture would have been taken in colour, the viewer might have been distracted by the colour itself.
As I stated here on my homepage and in this article, my intention in photography is to transport the feeling between me and my subject to the viewer of my pictures. I think that I can achieve that by removing every possible distraction of my photos, such as colour. One of the most beautiful things about art is its interpretation. I do not want to capture a specific message with my photos, if the viewer interprets something into them, he or she is welcome to do so.
So colour represents a distraction from the essence of my photography: the transportation of feeling. Therefore I see black&white as a reduction to that essence.
There are many people out there who think, that black and white pictures are only made to distract from a bad colour photo; on the other hand, there are many photographers who really do so by converting a bad colour image into black and white. For me, taking monochrome pictures is not to distract from bad colour photos, it is a clear decision; furthermore, it is an independent way of thinking. Besides, taking colour photos for me, was never an option ever since my decission for black&white only (note: I also turned on the monochrome mode on my camera, so when I look through the view finder or onto the display, I see the world in black and white).
For me, black&white photography is a journey. A journey that started a year ago and I don't know where it will take me. I my opinion, one should either decide to take colour or black&white photos. You can only master one of them at a time. As you can see in the above pictures which are arranged chronolocigally, I am still developing my own style.
When it comes to post processing, there are many people who say that a photograph should only be straight out of camera; in other words, no post processing should be applied.
Well, it depends. Post processing is as old as photography itself. When I want to direct the viewer to a specific element of my picture or want to create a certain look, then yes, post processing is the key for it. I you are into reportage photography, post processing might lead to a fine line between reality and manipulated reality.
I think it is also a mistake to assume that post processing is only performed by amateurs who want to disguise bad pictures. One of my favourite photographers of all time is Dennis Stock. He was also post processing his pictures, it is wrong to think, that the famous picture of James Dean walking down Broadway is a straight out of camera photo. He used post processing to create that specific look. Besides, it’s the artist’s freedom to do so.
So, I hope I gave you a little insight in my way of taking pictures.I am excited about my journey in black&white photography and where it will take me in order to develop my own, unique style.