I crave color after the subdued winter months with their neutral and grey tones. I’m a girl who loves pinks and greens, the deep blues of the sky, the lushness of the landscape that happens when we turn the corner from winter to spring.
So how is it that I’m writing a post about black and white images? I often have to force myself to process a digital photo in black and white, or to choose black and white film over color. But when I do return to black and white, I’m reminded of how much I appreciate the shift; there’s a different feeling portrayed, an emphasis on form, texture, graphics. I love how black and white can bring clarity and calm when the same image might be overwhelming or less interesting if portrayed in color. Shooting this way brings me back to basics.
Over the past few months I rediscovered my love of shooting with Polaroid pack cameras, and I dove into my stash of black and white film. (Sadly the Fuji film that works so wonderfully in these old cameras is no longer being manufactured, so I shoot knowing that one day I’ll no longer have the black and white option.) I had such fun remembering the nuances of the cameras and film, and enjoying the surprise that awaited me each time I took a shot and peeled apart the print from the negative.
Somehow the imperfections in the prints make them more endearing to me. And knowing that they can’t be changed, that the outcome depends upon the choices I make on the spot (a little skill plus a lot of luck) helps to slow me down and keep me challenged.
Now I’m looking forward to spring and summer, where I can indulge my love of color that the months ahead will bring. But shooting black and white for a time has rekindled my desire to experiment, and reminds me that each season–and each way of shooting–has its own particular beauty.