Black and White – An Alternative Visual World

black and white an alternative visual world
black and white an alternative visual world

An alternative visual world

In his book, Black & White Photography renowned photographer Michael Freeman says one of the appeals of black and white is that it transcends reality and offers “an alternative visual world, and in a way, a surreal one because everything in that world is seen differently from the way in which we experience it”, i.e. we experience the world around us in colour.

I guess a statement like that puts a lie to the old adage the camera never lies…when as photographers, we all know it can be made to, especially with modern post-processing techniques.

But the camera never lying is not what this story is about. It is about my next step in coming to grips with the nuances of black and white photography, a craft that has been practised for almost 200 years since Nicéphore Niépce made the first ever black and white photograph in 1826 or thereabouts.

If you’ve been to my photoblog before you may have read that I still shoot film occasionally. That’s a bit of a fib because on looking back through my archives I last shot a roll of film in late 2018. Back then I had built up a small collection of 35mm cameras, mostly manual cameras, and most of which I had brought back from the dead by repairing them.

My collection included a Zenit E, Nikon F75, Canon EOS1000F, Yashica SLR, a Nikkormat FT2 and two Olympus Trip 35s. Take a look at a few photographs from some of these cameras in my Analogue Gallery.

Today just the Canon EOS1000F remains, and which, after a pang of conscience for not having shot film for quite some time, I dug out of the cupboard and dusted off. With a new battery inserted – voila! – all functions seem to be working as expected.

So yesterday I purchased some film….and in the next day or two, I’ll be out shooting film again…this time black and white on Ilford HP5 Plus 400.

In the meantime, enjoy these black and white images shot with an Olympus Trip 35 on Lomography Earl Grey film when we were in Turkey in 2018.

All images were captured using a refurbished Olympus Trip 35, on Lomography Earl Grey BW 100ASA film. The film was processed at a local (now closed) photolab, and scanned at home with an Epson V370 scanner.

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8 Responses

  1. Hi,
    You pictures were beautiful.
    The reason I prefer black & white photography is the colour in-between, the shadows speak volumes and the light dances regardless of its background.
    There is also comfort amongst t the reality of presence.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello Donna – thanks for your kind comment. I am still finding my way, so to speak, with black and white photography. It is such a different genre overall from colour – with so much to learn.
      Thanks, Rick

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Jacob – and thanks too for the kind words about my photos. I personally think what is important when we take photos is to satisfy ourselves first. Assessing anyone’s images is always subjective, so enjoy your own images, and if other people like them, that is a bonus! Happy days, Rick

  2. I to just dusted off a Nikon FM that sat idle for 20 years and have rediscovered
    film photography. After shooting some rolls of “new” color I’ve already gravitated back to B&W as the preferred
    medium. Your pictures are beautiful.

    1. Hi Craig – thanks for your kind words.
      Since I published this story I have only shot about 6 exposures on the roll of black and white Ilford film I loaded into the old Canon EOS1000F, as other things have occupied my mind and time. I will however get onto finishing the roll and posting images here. So – watch this space.
      Maybe you could send me a wee story and some images and I’ll share them on my blog. Let me know and I’ll tell you how to send them to me.
      Cheers, Rick

  3. As a professional photographer, originally trained in the seventies, a lot of our work was on large format (5×4) b&w film. Architectural subjects in particular, with a cloud formation behind, can be made to appear very dramatic and impactful. We used a dark orange filter on 400ASA film rated at 125ASA. This darkens blue sky, enhancing the clouds. You can use a polarising filter for colour photography, but the effect is never as striking.
    Nice shots by the way.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment here John – I appreciate it. I was a “snapshot” photographer back in the seventies – not that I am much better now hah hah – and my first serious camera was a Minolta Himatic 7s which I purchased to accompany me on my OE. I’d love to have one of those again. I have checked out you website – lots of helpful stuff there.
      Cheers, Rick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 Responses

  1. Hi,
    You pictures were beautiful.
    The reason I prefer black & white photography is the colour in-between, the shadows speak volumes and the light dances regardless of its background.
    There is also comfort amongst t the reality of presence.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello Donna – thanks for your kind comment. I am still finding my way, so to speak, with black and white photography. It is such a different genre overall from colour – with so much to learn.
      Thanks, Rick

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Jacob – and thanks too for the kind words about my photos. I personally think what is important when we take photos is to satisfy ourselves first. Assessing anyone’s images is always subjective, so enjoy your own images, and if other people like them, that is a bonus! Happy days, Rick

  2. I to just dusted off a Nikon FM that sat idle for 20 years and have rediscovered
    film photography. After shooting some rolls of “new” color I’ve already gravitated back to B&W as the preferred
    medium. Your pictures are beautiful.

    1. Hi Craig – thanks for your kind words.
      Since I published this story I have only shot about 6 exposures on the roll of black and white Ilford film I loaded into the old Canon EOS1000F, as other things have occupied my mind and time. I will however get onto finishing the roll and posting images here. So – watch this space.
      Maybe you could send me a wee story and some images and I’ll share them on my blog. Let me know and I’ll tell you how to send them to me.
      Cheers, Rick

  3. As a professional photographer, originally trained in the seventies, a lot of our work was on large format (5×4) b&w film. Architectural subjects in particular, with a cloud formation behind, can be made to appear very dramatic and impactful. We used a dark orange filter on 400ASA film rated at 125ASA. This darkens blue sky, enhancing the clouds. You can use a polarising filter for colour photography, but the effect is never as striking.
    Nice shots by the way.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment here John – I appreciate it. I was a “snapshot” photographer back in the seventies – not that I am much better now hah hah – and my first serious camera was a Minolta Himatic 7s which I purchased to accompany me on my OE. I’d love to have one of those again. I have checked out you website – lots of helpful stuff there.
      Cheers, Rick

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