Thursday, 26 May 2011

how to use filters in black & white photography.

Welcome to the 28th edition.

The pdf tutorial provides information on black & white photography and how to improve your skills and knowledge in this area.

W. Eugene Smith
As we all know photography started out as a black & white medium but did you know it was in 1907 when the first practical colour plates became available? Designed by the French Lumière brothers they used dyed potato starch put on a ‘screen plate filter.’ It was a glass plate covered with grains of starch dyed in the primary colours. Colour photography resembling anything like we know it today only appeared on the market in the early 1930’s. One of the attractive qualities of a colourless medium is the nostalgic feel to the work, it provides a timeless quality. In the digital age we are used to seeing manipulated colour images and society is now much more skeptical about the veracity of what they see. When it comes to monochrome images viewers are more inclined to believe the image is the genuine representation and this anomaly is cleverly tapped into by advertisers. For more about the first colour photograph please click on the link.
W. Eugene Smith
One of the greatest black & white practitioners is Ansel Adams. This pioneering photographer  helped us to understand about using exposure and development, to discover detail in hidden areas of the images using the zone system. This is still a relevant skill to understand even in the digital age. Please click on the link for more information.
While there are many worthy photographers who use black & white to numerous to mention in this short blog I have included the work of Eugene Smith as he is often over looked in comparison to Cartier-Bresson or Robert Capa. One of the many things that I find intriguing  about this great photographer is that he was an obsessive (like many photographers) but also an alcoholic. Photographers are often individuals driven by extremes and for the those who are not familiar with the man or his work please click on the links to find out more.

Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold. - W. Eugene Smith

The Power of Monochrome