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All you need to know about black and white photography

Getting started • Techniques and tips • Edit and share images • Go pro

Welcome to…

There is something magical yet traditional about monochromatic photography. All the distractions of colour are taken away and what you’re left with is the structure and form of a place, object or person. In The Black & White Photography Book you will be guided through all the fundamental aspects of the medium, including how to shoot professional-looking black-and-white images. Throughout the book we have essential advice from industry professionals who shoot black-and-white images in all genres, from portraits and landscapes to street photography and abstract. But it’s not all just about shooting techniques and skills – we also have several editing tutorials, so you can take advantage of image-editing software to turn your black-and-white shots into monochromatic masterpieces. If that wasn’t enough, on the free CD at the back of the book we’ve included 11 video tutorials and source files so you can follow along with many of the editing tutorials at home. Enjoy the book.

Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth Dorset BH2 6EZ +44 (0) 1202 586200 Website: www.imagine-publishing.co.uk Twitter: @Books_Imagine Facebook: www.facebook.com/ImagineBookazines

Head of Publishing Aaron Asadi

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Production Editor

Dan Collins

Senior Art Editor Dani Dixon

Design

Charlie Crooks

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Disclaimer The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this bookazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the bookazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This bookazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.

The Black & White Photography Book Revised Edition © 2012 Imagine Publishing Ltd

Part of the

ISBN 978-1908955678

bookazine series

IMAGINEER

TEAM OF THE YEAR

OF THE YEAR DANIELLEDIXON

BOOKAZINES

Contents

08

Getting started in

B&W photography

An introduction and essential tips to the medium

TECHNIQUES

32

Master monochrome

See the world in black and white and discover the best subjects to shoot

44

The benefits of B&W

We speak to three experts to find out how and why they shoot in black and white

56

Perfect portraits

James Nader shares his pro secrets and portfolio of fashion portraits

64

Shoot stunning landscapes

Discover the form and texture of the black and white landscape image

76

Shooting the streets in B&W

Head outside and photograph the streets in black and white with our guide

88

Documenting life in B&W

Photographer Carol Allen Storey shares her incredible career

22

Essential kit for B&W photography

The best kit for great black- and-white photographs

32

134

58

shooting

skills

98

Understanding flash

Learn about flash techniques

104

Achieve perfect studio lighting

Take your skills to a pro level

110

natural portraits

Step out of the studio and use the power of daylight to produce black and whites

116

Black & white portrait tips

Industry pros reveal their top tips

120

high & low-key lighting

Master modern high and low-key photography techniques

126

Control images with filters

improve your black and whites with filters

132

Master composition

Make sure it’s all in the frame

138

Understand metering

Shed some light on fine-tuning your images

144

discover RAW

See the benefits of shooting in the rAW format

150

B&W abstracts

Search for shape, pattern and structure and go abstract

156

story behind the still

We dissect a shot along with its creator

Editing

160

six black and white conversion techniques

The ultimate guide for converting colour images to black and white

168

Create high-key effects

Use Photoshop to up the contrast

172

Use dodge & Burn to enhance portraits

Lighten and darken areas under control

176

Create a black & white hdR in Photoshop

Blend three black and white images into one

180

Re-create a glamorous black & white portrait

Glam it up with some Hollywood style

183

Create actions in Photoshop

Simplify your workflow

184

selective colouring

Take control of your editing skills

190

Create atmosphere

Evoke a dramatic mood with Photoshop

195

graduated filter

Use Lightroom to create a dramatic sky

196

Master tone edits

Work with tone for masterful monochrome

200

Add emphasis to eyes

Apply a rainbow effect to your black-and- white portraits

137

183

202

Classic portraits with gradient maps

Get effective B&W with this technique

204

sepia tone your images

Add a traditional brown tone to your images

206

Blue tone your images

Particularly effective for a landscape

208

Fix your old photos

All you need to know about restoring your old photographs

Getting started in B&W photography

black & white photo raphy

Getting started in

Getting started in B&W photography

WATERFALL IN GLENCOE

“I was only [available] to visit this lovely location in the middle of the day and the light was harsh, so I decided to shoot in black and white and use my Lee Big Stopper to smooth out the water and give a feeling of calm against the stormy-looking sky” Shot details: Canon EOS 50D with a 17-40mm lens, f9, 30sec, ISO 100

© Helen Rushton

Master monochrome by learning how to captureincredibleblack-and-whiteimages

P hotography began in black and white. But with rolls of monochrome film and darkroom experiments, the equipment and techniques used were a long way from the digital cameras and image-editing software

that we have now. With some of the world’s most iconic images having been captured in the black-and-white medium, there is a lot of history behind it, but it’s no

surprise that it remains as popular now as when it was first developed. Advancing successfully from film into digital over recent years, the monochrome medium has improved dramatically. Even darkroom tools and techniques have seen a digital revival with computer software,

making black and white much more accessible to photography enthusiasts. As it works effortlessly with any photographic genre, the black and white medium is used across the industry, from landscape to portraiture, as well as in music, wildlife and street photography. Over the next few pages you will learn all the fundamentals of the medium. Featuring great inside information from industry professionals, you will get to grips with all essential shooting tips, tricks and techniques behind taking successful black-and-white images. By reading this guide to black and white photography, you will soon be on your way to mastering monochrome and applying all you have learnt to your own images.

© Dean Sherwood

Getting started in B&W photography

Before you begin shooting straight in monochrome, consider your camera settings. Most digital cameras offer a monochrome filter, allowing you to shoot directly in black and white; however, this setting is only available when opting to capture JPEG files. JPEGs are not ideal files for any serious photographer and are rarely used by professionals. Compressed image data JPEGs are more difficult to alter in postproduction, with many decreasing in quality after just a few adjustments. Instead, pro black-and-white photographers will always opt to use RAW if shooting a commercial project. When looking to create great black-and-white images you need to begin by setting your camera up to shoot in the RAW image format. Although they’re much larger, RAW files are ideal for digital black-and-white photography. You’ll be capturing in colour first, but RAW images can later be converted with much more control, as Antonia Deutsch (www. antoniadeutsch.co.uk), a professional AOP photographer who specialises in black-and-white photography, advises: “When I am shooting digitally I shoot in colour and convert my images into black and white – this gives much more information in the digital files. It is extremely important not to use the camera’s software but to be in control of converting the colour into black and white in the way that suits your image, in the same way that you would choose which type of film to use prior to digital technology.” Setting up your camera correctly is just one part of capturing a great black-and-white photograph; getting out there ready to compose is another. When shooting with the intention to convert your colour captures to monochrome, you will need to take a whole new approach to composition. Unlike a colour photograph where you can rely more on the hues and colour tones, a black-and-white image gets its strength from the contrast and visual composition. Work slowly when framing your image, as looking for more unusual and unique shapes can help to add detail and texture to an otherwise bland black-and-white shot. Helen Rushton, a professional landscape photographer who runs See Life Through The Lens photography workshops (www. seelifethroughthelens.com), remarks: “Take your time with your composition; black-and-white images need to be strong to work well. With my black-and-white images I am always looking for bold textures, contrast between layers and lines in the composition to draw my viewers through the image.” Light is equally as important to consider when shooting for black and white. Whether it’s a portrait or landscape, understanding how it falls can make a noticeable difference to the success of your black-and-white photographs. Look carefully for the highlights, midtones and shadows in your composition before you shoot, helping to ensure you expose all your captures correctly. Don’t be afraid, however, to slightly overexpose an image that is intended for black- and-white conversion – often the worst it will do is increase contrast, which can in fact be ideal, as Helen adds: “Play around with your exposure to bring out and highlight details that catch your eye.” Check your image’s histogram as you work on the back of your camera. This can help to ensure you’re on the right track, as it is important to note that too much midtone in a histogram can make an image it appear flat when converted, as it will lack any contrast or depth. Not all colour images work well when converted to black and white, and this is usually due to a lack of tonal range. Tonal range is largely affected by colour and, along with light, defines the contrast areas in a black-and-white photograph. When shooting, you can take some control of this simply by paying more attention to the natural colours of the subject you’re photographing. For instance, what may look like a striking photograph in colour, with two dominant colours such as red and blue, in black and white you will find these colours are recorded

5 TOP TIPS

Dean Sherwood

Web: www.deansherwood.com

“I am a Grimsby-based commercial photographer/ cinematographer producing high-quality imagery for commercial businesses, retail sites, portraiture, weddings, musicians/bands and HD web TV films for commercial businesses.” Dean specialises in music photography and has worked closely and been on tour with big British bands such as N-Dubz, Feeder, McFly and One Direction.

1 Choose RAW

Photograph in RAW if you can.

2 Emotive work

Capturing emotion always looks great in black and white.

3 Contrast rules

Think about the contrast between the main subject and the background, eg a light subject against a dark background.

4 Throw some shapes

Lines, shapes and textures look great in black and white.

5 Composition is key

With colour removed you have to concentrate on your composition. The viewer’s focus is purely the content of the image so make it good.

TULISA, N-DUBZ

Tulisa having her hair and make-up done before a show Shot details: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with 24-70mm lens at 35mm and f5.0, 1/400sec, ISO 3200

DAPPY, N-DUBZ

Smaller venues with good lighting offer a much better chance to get shots like this Shot details: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with a 24-70mm lens at 35mm and f5, 1/400sec, ISO 3200

MCFLY

The final shot of the ATN tour. There’s always that glimmer of doubt: ‘Will they forget I’m here?’ Within a minute of this photo we were on the tour bus and leaving the venue Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm lens at 24mm and f2.8, 1/160sec, ISO 2000

“Not all colour images work well in black and white… due to a lack of tonal range”

Getting started in B&W photography

© Dean Sherwood

© Dean Sherwood

©Antonia Deutsch

Getting started in B&W photography

ScotS PineS

From the British Landscapes Exhibition Shot details: Nikon D300 with a 16-85mm lens at 85mm, f7.1, 1/200sec, ISO 200

“Traditional black-and-white colour filters will help to alter and adjust the colour tones”

Quick guide to dodging and burning in Photoshop

Formerly used in traditional darkrooms, the Dodge and Burn tools have since been digitally converted for image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop. Located in the toolbar on the left-hand side of the interface, you

Dodge

1 Set the Dodge Select the Dodge tool first

in order to brighten areas of the

frame. Adjust the brush size to

a suitable diameter and select

a soft edge to help blend the

effect. Using the Range drop- down menu, select the Midtones as you don’t want to make the highlights any brighter.

2 Apply the effect Adjust the intensity of the

effect by pulling the Exposure slider down low; this will allow you to build up the brightness effect carefully. You can now gently brush over the areas you wish to lighten.

can select either the Dodge icon to lighten areas of the image or the Burn icon to darken, creating a more controlled contrast effect. Here is a quick guide to using them.

Burn

1 Prepare to burn Hold down the Dodge icon

until an option menu appears and select the Burn tool. Again, adjust the brush diameter to a suitable size and choose a soft edge. Select the Midtones or Shadows from the Range option depending on the areas you want to darken.

2 Build up slowly Now lower the Exposure

slider so that you can build up on the burn effect over time. You can now slowly start sweeping the brush over the

intended areas.

Getting started in B&W photography

FRAN

Quiet, thoughtful portrait Shot details: Hasselblad with 150mm lens and f11, 1/125sec, ISO 125, FP4 film, scanned at 300dpi at 400% magnification full frame

similarly in tone and therefore your black-and-white conversion will lack any definition or contrast. Helen Rushton shares a great tip for ensuring a colour scene will work as black-and-white photograph: “I often set my Canon EOS 50D to the Monochrome setting, which gives me an instant understanding of whether the tones and shades work together to make the image I am trying to create, but as I always shoot in RAW the image is still captured in colour and then I convert that back to black and white in post production.” Even if a photograph doesn’t appear promising in monochrome, there are a few other ways in which you can control how colours are recorded in your black-and-white photograph. Traditional black-and-white colour filters, which can be attached to the front of your camera, will help to alter and adjust the colour tones in an image, whether it is to soften certain colour tones or enhance others for contrast. You can also use digital conversion tools in most image-editing software, allowing you to make specific adjustments to certain colour channels for increased contrast results. Another way that you can boost contrast in-camera is by using popular ND filters. Mainly used by landscape and traditional black-and-white photographers, there is a range of different ND filter types. Straightforward ND (Neutral Density) filters are commonly used for longer exposures,

© Antonia Deutsch

most notably in seascape scenes, softening moving water and turning it into mist. Graduated ND filters, however, are often used to darken skies. Most professional photographers still consider filters as essential pieces of kit, as Helen points out: “My photography is all about getting the image right in-camera without lengthy processing techniques, so for me the grad filters balance out exposure and the ND grads allow me to be creative in-camera and convey the emotions I am looking for. I

use the same filters shooting black and white as I do in colour:

my Lee ND Graduated filters and Full ND filters.” Antonia agrees that filtering is important, particularly for landscape photography: “When shooting landscapes on film

I used to use a yellow filter by default, and sometimes a red

filter,” she says. “Now with digital photography, I filter in

Adobe’s Camera Raw software. I think that filtering is essential for landscapes.” Although it fits comfortably into almost any genre of photography, black and white is often considered a genre in itself. Many photographers like Antonia have chosen to specialise solely in black-and-white photography, something that she now runs workshops on: “As I child I used to watch old black-and-white movies and was captivated by the imagery.

I think that this influenced my decision to specialise in black

Getting started in B&W photography

Using filters in your photography

Colour filters

Red: Popular with landscape photographers, red filters have the biggest impact on contrast and are used to enhance dramatic skies by affecting the blue and green tones in a black-and-white image. Yellow: A relatively subtle filter effect, the yellow colour tends to lighten red, orange and yellow tones. Green: You can enhance a dramatic sunset using a green filter, which will darken the red and orange tones. Blue: Lightening the green and blue tones, the blue filter works similarly to the green colour filter in darkening reds and oranges. Orange: The orange filter will darken blue and green tones and lighten yellows and oranges. It is often used in black-and-white portraiture to remove freckles and blemishes from the face.

ND Filter (Neutral Density)

ND filters allow you to extend your camera’s shutter speed without overexposing the image, as it filters light through slowly to the lens and is often used to create misty smooth water effects in seascapes and waterfalls. You can also get different strengths of ND filters depending on how much light you want to filter.

Graduated ND filter

A graduated neutral density filter works in the same way an ND filter does except that one half of the filter is clear, gradually working up to ND filtration. These filters are most commonly used by landscape photographers in order to darken bright skies and get an even exposure throughout the entire image.

JAMIE

Teenage rugby player with a battle-worn face, but shot in a romantic way Shot details:

Hasselblad with 150mm lens and f11, 1/125sec, ISO 125, FP4 film, scanned at 300dpi at 800% magnification and cropped to suit

© Antonia Deutsch

and white from an extremely early stage. For me black and white is a purer image which allows greater drama and more expression, be it a portrait or a landscape.” Landscapes are also a popular subject matter for black-and- white photography and have been since the early days of film. One of the key elements to great black-and-white landscapes is composition. Looking for stronger lead-in lines and shapes, you need to build depth and layers in your landscape photograph. Professional landscape photographer Helen Rushton remarks: “There are some locations I go to and they scream black and white to me because of the ambience. For me, great black-and-white images fall into two categories: very dramatic with stormy skies and bold compositions, and at the other end of the spectrum a sense of calm and minimalist composition.”

Lighting can also affect the contrast levels in all black-and-white images, particularly daylight in a landscape. Midday sun will create darker contrasting shadows, for example, whereas morning light and early evenings create

a softer palette of tones. “For black-and-white landscapes I

concentrate on the graphic elements of a scene, and the nature

of the environment, whether it is stormy or tranquil,” says Antonia. My British landscapes are taken only during the winter months when the light is lower in the sky and the trees are more sculptural.”

Popular in portraiture and street photography for its timeless perception, black and white is considered most at home in this genre. Antonia points out the benefits of shooting

a portrait in black and white as opposed to colour: “When

shooting a portrait in black and white you are not distracted by the colours and it is much less confused; this allows me to capture the character of my sitter. My portraits are very calm and, I hope, timeless. I strive to make each portrait a true reflection of the individual.” Professional music photographer Dean Sherwood (www. deansherwood.com), who shoots black-and-white portraits as part of his work, says: “I think every subject deserves to be treated as just what they are, an individual. It’s quite

Getting started in B&W photography

Danny

Jones,

McFly

Even when you only have a few moments to get a portrait, you still have to think about composition shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm lens at 24mm and f2.8, 1/80sec, ISO 3200

© Dean Sherwood

© Helen Rushton

Getting started in B&W photography

CATCH THE WAVE

“I loved the way these waves were breaking against the shore coupled with the lines from the slipway batons in Biaritz, France. I wanted to freeze the action, but also give some slight softness” Shot details: Canon EOS 50D with a 70-200mm lens, f7.1, 1/6sec, ISO 100

COUNTRY

Rural landscapes work just as well as coastal ones in black and white. Check our filter guide on page 14 to see how you can enhance them

often I will think ‘this is going to look great in black and white’ though. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a black- and-white photograph and thought ‘that would look great in colour’.” He adds: “Music photographs in black and white are timeless. I can definitely recount more black-and-white music photographs I love than I can colour ones. Black-and- white music photographs carry a similar edge to that of a documentary photographers work. Take away the colour and you are left with a stripped-down clear defining moment that happened in the real world; no distractions, just a pure document in front of your eyes.” Street photography is also commonly shot in monochrome as it enables photographers to create a uniformed collection of images that work like a narrative. Often gritty with noise grain, many street photographers tend to use higher ISO numbers when shooting in order to create a retro film-like effect. Noise, however, can be distracting and will decrease

the quality of an image. When it comes to using higher ISO numbers, in this instance it is often best to add grain in later during post-production. This will give you much more control over the intensity of the effect. Noise can add an interesting texture to your images, so it’s considered great for street photography and stylised portraits, but it’s best avoided when shooting landscapes. Eventually you will need to convert your colour captures to black and white. Image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, however, makes this a relatively simple task these days. Featuring countless conversion tools there is no right or wrong way to edit, you can still apply the same old darkroom principles including using the Dodge and Burn tools for specific enhancements. Don’t be afraid to experiment; black and white is a creative and artistic form of photography and, as long as you save the original file separately, nothing cannot be undone. So, if you’re ready to explore monochrome, keep in mind some of Antonia Deutsch’s top tips:

• Connect with your subject

• Compose carefully

• Use your light to sculpt your subject

• Be patient and calm

• Be selective over what you shoot

© Helen Rushton

Getting started in B&W photography

STORMY SMOOTH WATERS

“This image was taken at one of my favourite locations on the south coast, Hengistbury Head. I had found the groyne on one of my trips there when the tide was lower and planned to come back when I could get water covering the top to smooth out the ugly areas. A very long shutter speed, coupled with a freak big wave, saw me very wet but very happy with the image I had wanted to create” Shot details: Canon EOS 50D with a 17-40mm lens and f11, 4mins using a Lee Big Stopper, ISO 100

Getting started in B&W photography

Shootingforblackandwhite

1 Set up the tripod Once you have selected the scene you want to shoot, you will need to set up your

equipment. Begin by assembling your tripod. Pulling the legs apart from the centre, unclip each section. You can pull down to extend the length of each leg. Ensure all of the legs are straight and the correct length before clicking the fastenings back into place.

3 Camera ready Ensure you have inserted a fully charged battery and empty memory card correctly

into the camera. Turn on your camera and search through your camera’s menu interface in order to format your memory card. This is important before a shoot as it deletes unwanted data that could slow the card’s performance.

5 ISO option Ensure your ISO settings are low

and set between 200-400 ISO to avoid distracting noise in your black-and- white conversions. If you want to add noise later for aesthetic reasons, you can do this during post production with more control over the effect.

2 Are you level? Check your tripod’s bubble level to ensure the tripod is level. You may need to extend or shorten one leg to accommodate for rocky or uneven ground. You

can now attach your camera to the top plate by screwing it correctly onto the mount. Place

the plate back onto the tripod head and click it securely into place.

4 File format You can now set your camera to shoot either just RAW files or RAW+JPEG files. RAW+JPEG will allow you to set your JPEGs to monochrome capture separately so

you can preview the black-and-white results while retaining and still capturing a colour RAW

file for editing. Be aware that this option will take up more memory space.

Getting started in B&W photography

6 Attach the filter You will now need to attach the filter ring to the end of your lens; this will allow you to connect the filter and filter holder onto the end of your camera. Ensure

you have the correct diameter filter ring for your lens and gently screw it into place. Now

slide the filter holder on top.

8 Final adjustments Make any last-minute adjustments to your composition using the tripod. You can now change your exposure settings, adjusting the aperture and shutter

speed to suit the scene. Check your camera’s in-built light meter through the viewfinder as

an exposure guide.

“When shooting, keep checking your histogram”

10 Photoshop Use a card reader to open your colour image in Photoshop

to convert. Begin by selecting an image, go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate to remove all the colour and use Image> Adjustments>Levels to enhance and boost contrast by adjusting the shadows and highlights sliders slightly, but paying more attention to the midtones.

7 Line it up You can slide your filters into place. Begin by selecting the right filter type and strength; hold it around the edges to avoid getting fingerprints on the front. When using

a grad ND filter, use your camera’s viewfinder or live view ensure the grad line sits perfectly

on the horizon.

9 Check the histogram While shooting remember to keep checking your histogram at the back of the camera for a good idea on how the shadows, midtones and highlights

are looking. If you opted to shoot RAW+JPEG with a monochrome filter on the JPEG files,

now is a good time to see how the RAW images will look when converted.

Getting started in B&W photography

Top 10 tips

Conversion

When converting your colour captures to black and white, keep it simple. There is no right or wrong way to convert; just experiment in your photo-editing software. A good adjustment tool to look out for to begin with is Desaturate or Convert to Monochrome. From there you can build on contrast levels.

Histogram

While shooting, remember to keep an eye on your histogram. A good exposure should show an even range with no peaking at either end of the graph. Remember that you don’t want too much information compressed within the midtones. Ensure there is enough information/mountainous range in the shadows and highlights.

Texture and

interest

When composing, think carefully about how textures can be recorded in black and white in order to add a feeling of depth. Stormy skies in a landscape is a great example, giving you interest at the top of the frame that will still help to draw your eye down into the focus of the frame.

File formats

RAW files offer you a lot more information, which is ideal for editing and black-and-white conversions. Unlike a compressed JPEG file, a RAW one won’t decrease too heavily in quality as you make adjustments. It’s worth noting that you may also need a bigger memory card to shoot in RAW as they take up much more space.

Shoot in colour

Shoot your black-and-white images in colour first and convert them to monochrome later using photo-editing software. This will give you more control over the results, particularly the strength of the overall contrast. It also means that if the image doesn’t work in black and white you still have the colour copy.

Getting started in B&W photography

Light and shade

Look for light when shooting in black and white, as contrast is important if you want to avoid flat image results. Think carefully about the time of day you shoot in, as this can also impact your image’s contrast levels. Midday sun has a stronger light and brings out darker shadows, as opposed to early morning and evening light.

Dodge and Burn

Popular in darkrooms of the past, Dodge and Burn tools are now digital and can be used in much the same way in Photoshop. Use the Burn tool to lighten specific areas of the image, focusing on midtones and highlights. Use the Dodge tool to darken the rest.

Composition

Slow down when composing a black-and- white image, as this is the most crucial element for your photo’s success. Look for strong shapes and lead-in lines to draw the eye into the image. Find more dynamic forms to focus on which will also engage your viewer.

Filters

Don’t be afraid to use filters when taking a photograph; you will be surprised by the instant improvement to your shots. Invest in some great-quality grad filters to darken the sky, ND filters for longer exposures and colour filters for more creative tonal adjustments in black and white.

Colour tones

Pay attention to the colours within the frame before you shoot. Not all colours translate well together in black and white; what may look contrasting and strong in colour can often convert to similar in tone and ultimately flat in contrast.

Getting started in B&W photography

Essential kit

Essential kit for B&W photography

If you’re looking for the best equipment for a monochrome workflow, then this is the guide for you

T his whole bookazine is dedicated to the intricate art of black-and-white photography, and one area that really has to be considered to get the best results is the kit that you choose to

use. Over these eight pages, we will explore all the top kit – from your cameras and lenses, to software and printing, to finally presenting your work. There are loads of genre-specific features that you need to

look for, and we will break these down as we move through this kit guide. One decision that you will need to make when it comes to monochrome photography is whether you are going to shoot in black and white, or convert it after in post-production. There are advantages to both. If you shoot in black and white, then you can see how the tones and contrast are applied in the image, which means that you can correct the shot.

We have included cameras that have monochrome modes for this, as well as lenses and filters that will improve your black-and-white shots. However, we also take a look at the best software options to do the conversion for you, the advantage being that you can keep the colour version and work on the mono version separately. Think carefully about your requirements and then read on to find out what your kit bag is crying out for…

Getting started in B&W photography

Cameras

Compact creativity

We have featured DSLRs or CSCs in our roundup here, but there are some good compact options out there, especially in the new breed of high-end solutions. These give excellent image quality, plenty of manual control and a selection of shooting options that includes monochrome. We like the Nikon CoolPix P300, which has a tough build, a fast aperture and ultra- wide lens (www.nikon.co.uk for more information).

Picking a camera for monochrome work isn’t so different from choosing a camera for colour work. Indeed, it’s unlikely that your only use for a camera will be black-and- white imaging. However, ensure that your chosen model has features that will help you to capture the subjects that you want to portray in mono. Ensure that you look for a camera that offers high quality, detailed images, as sharp images are especially suited to monochrome conversion. Also look at the ISO control, as noise will be enhanced in

monochrome – so unless you are going for a particularly retro effect, then this isn’t preferable. We mainly focus on interchangeable lens cameras here, as these are the best option for covering all manner of photographic projects. Whether you are into shooting landscapes or portraits, macros or motion, then you have a wealth of flexibility by opting for a DSLR. Keep an eye out for black-and-white shooting options too, as this will enable you to compose scenes with mono in mind.

ENTRY-LEVEL DSLR

Entry-level models like the Canon EOS 600D shown here are great options for those moving up into the DSLR arena for the first time, but still have plenty of technology and functionality for the more seasoned user too. They’re often designed to allow for creative shooting, and in the 600D’s case the dedicated Monochrome Picture Style allows for striking black and whites in camera.

Built-in Filters Many DSLRs have a black-and-white filter, which is perfect for capturing more atmospheric shots

Lens compatibility DSLRs are compatible with a range of manufacturer and third-party lenses, so there’s flexibility

Live view Live View mode in the 600D enables you to check that a shot works in mono before capturing

More options

From DSLR to compact system cameras, here are some great camera options

NIKON DSLRs

If you would like an alternative to Canon systems, you could try a Nikon camera, like the D5100 pictured below. This model offers Live View and a Vari-angle LCD screen, which

means that composing a shot accurately is super simple. It also has a new special effects mode, which has seven effects including selective colour and monochrome. It has a powerful 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and exceptional low-light performance, as well

as an HDR function and Active D-Lighting for

extreme contrast.

COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA

Rather than being a buying a DSLR, you could try one of the new breed of micro-system cameras with interchangeable lenses, which means that you have the benefit of both flexibility and compactness. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 (shown below) is one such compact system camera, offering 16 megapixels and Live View to aid composition. It also has super-fast auto focusing and creative controls enable Retro, Sepia and High-Key shooting, among others.

HIGH-END CAMERA

If you have a lot of money to spend, it’s worth getting a high-end camera to capture images

at even greater quality. The Leica M9 (pictured

below), which offers 18 megapixels and is compatible with Leica’s M lenses, is perfect

for street photography. Leica also produces the world’s first digital camera designed exclusively for shooting in black and white, the

M Monochrom. These cameras are definitely

investment buys, but they will last a lifetime.

Lenses

Picking a lens for your camera to use for black and white photography is dependent on the subject that you’re shooting. If landscape is preferable, then it is worth looking into an ultra-wide angle zoom lens, so that you can play with your composition to bring focus to the details and heighten the perspective, both traits that are essential to monochrome photos. We have picked a couple of our favourites here, new and old, and these

have built-in stabilisation features and large apertures to help get that perfect tonal range that is so necessary for working in black and white. If it’s portraits that you’re working with, then look for a high aperture lens, so the maximum amount of light is taken in during low-light and indoor shots. These lenses are also good for working in conjunction with lighting setups to produce high and low-key creative effects.

“Picking a lens for your camera to use

for black and white photography hy is dependent on the subject that you’re shooting”

Beneficial Design This lens is designed in such a way that it minimises lens fall-off and increases peripheral brightness

Keep it steady

When you are taking monochrome shots, it’s important to use a tripod, as this will help to eliminate blur that won’t translate well into black-and-white shots, with blur showing up as streaks of grey and white. This is especially true in landscape and portrait shots,where pin-sharpimages will look the most effective. We like the ranges from Manfrotto and Induro (pictured above), for example.

LENSES FOR LANDSCAPES

Landscapes are one of the most popular subjects for monochrome photography, and an ultra-wide-angle lens like the Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 DG HSM II (pictured) will do a great job of capturing them. Landscape lenses need to be lighweight and quiet, and the Sigma even has a full-frame view with Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting.

Weight This compact lens weighs just 670g, making it good for taking out and about

Release your creativity The wide-angle view will exaggerate perspective, giving landscape photographers roomfor creative compositions

Essential kit

Lenses & subjects

See what you need for what you want to shoot

TRAVEL AND STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

When you’re shooting the streets and documenting life, you need a lens that won’t weigh you down. Canon’s EF 17-40mm f4L USM lens (pictured) is lightweight and compact, so it is perfect for travelling with and it is also resistant to dust and moisture. It’s ultra wide on a full-frame EOS camera and a standard zoom on APS-C sensors, so it is flexible depending on the body that you use it with.

PORTRAITS

If it is monochrome studio portraits that you’re interested in, then you should look for a fast maximum aperture and a rounded diaphragm to help produce softly blurred depth-of-field effects. The Nikon 85mm f1.4G AF NIKKOR (pictured) is a great lens that will help you to achieve people shots in the studio. It’s a medium telephoto lens with a fast maximum aperture of f1.4 and internal focusing. It’s lightweight too at 595g, which isn’t necessary for portraits, but it always helps!

MULTIPURPOSE

If it’s a multipurpose lens that you require, then you will need a good all-rounder. The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX DG HSM (pictured) is a large aperture, standard zoom lens, meaning that it is as comfortable taking portrait shots as it is landscapes. The f2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range ensures quality when indoors or in low light, and the lens coatings help to remove aberrations and distortion. It has HSM for quiet yet fast focusing and it can focus down to a distance of 38cm.

vv

aav Getting started in B&W photography

Filters

Filters are essential in black and white photography if you want to produce the very best results. By using them, you can make a big difference to the tonal range of your photos. With good black and white photos the viewer can almost visualise the scene in colour without any colour information present, simply by the tones presented. When a filter is used, it enhances certain colour tones in the final image, and can make a monochrome image really pop. By using a filter of a set colour, you will lighten that particular colour in tone, and you will pop the

HOYA COLOUR FILTERS

Hoya offers a wide range of coloured filters, which can be used to enhance the tones in your monochrome images. Prices vary depending on the size and the colour chosen, so visit the website to find out more. Use the Red filter to boost contrast in images with red, brown and orange – perfect for autumnal shots. There are also corrective filters, warm filters and portrait filters to choose from.

Compatibility Hoya offers a massive range of different colours of filter to suit all lens types

Contrast boost The K2 Yellow filter, which is a popular choice for portraits, can help to boost contrast between sky and foreground

Pick your colour

Original

The colour of filter that you choose will have a dramatic impact on your final photo. Here we show you what four popular colour filters do to the same monochrome image.

With filter

No filter

tones of the complementary colours. Yellow filters are particularly popular, as they are good for making subtle changes, especially to the blue sky in landscape shots. Red is best for creative effects with loads of contrast. Blue and green are also available, but are generally used less.

Blue

Infrared The 25A Red filter is great for those with an interest in infrared photography

Green

Red

Filter options

Filter out the wheat from the chaff

B+W FILTERS

B+W offers a range of dedicated black- and-white filters, which are designed to optimise the contrast and tonal range when shooting in monochrome. The filter’s colour is made lighter and a complementary filter is made darker, so B+W provides a range of eight filters to cover the whole spectrum of controls needed, helping to ensure that your monochrome shots are dramatically improved by the addition of a filter.

TIFFEN

Tiffen does a wide range of different filters, with a dedicated line-up for use with black and white. Available in a massive range of sizes, check out the website for details of filters in yellow, red, green, deep yellow, blue and more. For each filter, Tiffen explains how they can best be used in your photography, so you can ensure that you are making the right choice for your needs. List prices are quoted in US Dollars, but most of them can be bought from Amazon.

KENKO R72

If you are interested in experimenting with infrared digital photography, then this is touted as the ‘most popular infrared filter in the world’. That’s some claim, but it is a well-priced offering that comes in a wide range of sizes. The filter permits light of around 700 wavelength to pass through, giving that recognisable infrared effect. It effectively filters out all light bar infrared light, which can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Yellow

Software

Post-production is one area of the photographer’s workflow that just can’t be ignored. While many cameras will come with their own software solutions, if you want dramatic and striking black and white images then you need access to a good image editor. We have listed the four best software packages, but there are others out there that are worth considering. Photoshop Elements, for example, has really upped its game over the last few versions, so if the full Photoshop

package seems a little heavy handed for the editing you require, then it’s a good option at a fraction of the cost. Lightroom and Aperture are slowly taking away some of the shine from Photoshop in the pro photographer’s digital kit bag, as they are tailored just to photographers, rather than digital artists, 3D artists, web designers and the many other creatives. And don’t forget that the majority of big-name software packages will be extendable via plug-ins.

“If you want dramatic and striking black and white images then you need access to a good image editor”

Catalog Lightroom’s easy-to-use interface makes it easy to find the image you want

Plug-ins Lightroomsupportsexternal plug-ins to extend its functionality even more

PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM

Lightroom has really worked hard to win popularity among professional photographers, offering more and more editing options in each version so that having Photoshop is less essential. Its sophisticated colour and tone tools mean that when working with monochrome or colour images, it’s a relatively simple process to enhance contrast in a nondestructive manner.

Plug-ins

While each of the programs that we have picked here does a great job with black and white images, there are dedicated plug-ins out there built specifically for the task. We recommend Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2, which is the world’s leading monochrome software and it is compatible with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and Aperture. It uses U Point technology to accurately and selectively edit the contrast and tonal range of your images to perfection.

Easy edits The editing options are becoming more and more advanced while still retaining ease of use

Newest version Lightroom 3 offers improved noise reduction and lens correction to eliminate common flaws

Essential kit

More software

Select the image-editing software you need

PHOTOSHOP

With the introduction of subscription plans for the best known image editor, Photoshop has suddenly become super affordable. It is top of the image-editing stack for very good reason, but you may find that it gives you more than you need in terms of functionality. If you are working with colour images, then the Black & White adjustment layer is a great way to tailor results without affecting the original permanently, and the many colour and tone tools available mean that monochrome images can be made to pop.

APPLE APERTURE

Apple’s Aperture is its answer to Adobe’s Lightroom and it performs many of the same functions for Mac users. Its benefits lie in the fact that if users have been using iPhoto, the learning curve is reduced due to similar aesthetics. It’s easy to both convert to monochrome and to work on black and white images to improve contrast. Another attraction is in its price, which is significantly lower than that of Lightroom; however, it does work best on a high-spec iMac as there have been reports of lagging on lower-end machines and laptops.

CAPTURE ONE PRO 6

Phase One’s RAW converter also packs in image-editing solutions. It can help to organise photo libraries too, and it is marketed for professional photographers. Its toolset is full of advanced options for improving colour, tone and detail, which is essential when working in black and white. For any colour images that need to be converted, there is a dedicated tool and even a workspace for Black and White. This gives you direct access to the tools that are designed for monochrome editing.

Getting started in B&W photography

Printers

Once you have a perfectly shot and edited black and white picture, it’s time to turn your attention to output options. A printer is the first vital step in the workflow chain, and there are two key types of printer that you are likely to come across. First, there are the consumer printers, which we will look at here, and then there are professional printers, if you want to get more serious. When looking at consumer printers, don’t just go straight

CANON PIXMA IP4850

This low-cost printer packs a lot in under its lid, including 9,600dpi photolab-standard prints up to A4 size. It is a speedy model too, with 10 x 15cm standard photo prints taking around 20 seconds. It uses five single inks, so that they can be replaced as and when.

Durability Combined with Canon inks and papers,photos should last a lifetime if given the proper care

Versatility As well as paper, the Canon can print onto disc. It also has an Auto Duplex function for double-sided printing

“You may be paying for things that you don’t really need”

Scanning

If you are interested in scanning in old monochrome film photos, then it is worth investing in a dedicated scanner rather than using the all-in-one functions of many of these printers. Photo scanners come with a negative or slide tray, which holds the film in place while it’s scanning, ensuring the highest quality. All-in-one printers with scanners are usually best for document scanning.

in for the most expensive you can afford, but don’t snap up super-low bargains either – both can be misleading. Think carefully about what you need from your printer. If you need innovation and quality, then buy the best that you can afford within your budget; however, if bells and whistles don’t tickle your fancy, you may be paying for things that you don’t really need. We present four of the best options here.

flexibility Prints can be made directly from the web and from HD movie sources

More printers

Home printing doesn’t have to mean low quality

HP PHOTOSMART PREMIUM E-ALL-IN-ONE PRINTER SERIES

HP has recently overhauled its Photosmart range of printers, offering new and improved features as well as a model to suit all photographer’s needs. We chose this option as it has up to A4 printing, scanning and copying, internet connectivity, wireless technology and, most importantly, lab-quality prints. The touch screen gives quick access to printing options without using a computer.

KODAK ESP 7250 ALL-IN-ONE

There are some really good deals around on this product at the moment, so expect to pay around £150 rather than the SRP quoted above. This Kodak is based around connectivity so it can print photos directly from mobile devices using Wi-Fi. It is also low cost with the inks reasonably priced and the cost-per-print ratio at a minimum. It might not be the best option for high-quality prints, but for day-to-day use, it has a lot to offer.

EPSON STYLUS PHOTO

PX820FWD

While the price of this seems very steep for a home printer, we have included it for its sheer wealth of features, perfectly bridging the gap between consumer and professional devices. Also, in the Epson store at the time of writing, the model was on sale for just £180. It is a 4-in-1 (printer, scanner, copier and fax) with wireless connectivity, built-in editing tools accessed via the large touchscreen, a card reader, USB and PictBridge connections and it can do all your admin and everyday printing tasks too.

Essential kit

Frames and mounting

It’s all well and good producing amazing black and white images, but if you never display them, the prints will end up going dusty in an old shoebox. Make your photographs into the works of art that they are by investing in a decent frame. Custom frames give the best results as the size, finish and mounting method are all interchangeable so that you can get exactly what you

want. This is especially useful if you want to print at a non-standard size to fit a particular wall or to show the work off to its best potential. Also, for holding personal exhibitions or selling work, then custom frames give that air of quality and uniqueness. Here we round up four of the best online services that enable you to create the frame that you want with no restrictions.

“Custom frames give that air of quality and uniqueness”

Framing online

More online framing options

EPICTURE FRAMES

ePicture Frames uses a simple three-step process for getting the right frame for a photograph. First is ‘Choose’, where size, colour and type can be used as criteria to narrow your selection down. Next up is ‘Customise’, where options for sizing, extras and mounts can be chosen. Finally, there is ‘Buy’. As well as wood and metal frames, there are swept and decorative options. There are plenty of ready-made frames to choose from too. It’s a very intuitive process that makes choosing frames fun.

Digital frames

EZEFRAME

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There are also digital photo frames out

there there if if your your framing needs are limited

to to displaying displaying your work around the home.

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in in particular particular Wi-Fi W or card slots, so it’s easy

to to update update your your frame with your latest shots.

Also Also make make sure su that the resolution is as

high high as as possible po to make the most

of of your your mono m shots. The Kodak

range range of o EasyShare frames

start start from £58 at www. kodak.co.uk.

EzeFrame offers both standard size and custom size frames, with the latter made simple thanks to a box on the home page into which you can enter your measurements and get straight into customising. The frames are handmade in the United Kingdom and the delivery time is just 1-3 days. There are plenty of categories to choose from, and just as many mounts. While the frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk for more details.

frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk
frames are great, it does lack the ability to preview your own image online. Visit www.ezeframe.co.uk

EFRAME

eFrame is a great custom frame site as it’s really easy to navigate. It has loads of guides on how to measure a print properly, how to use the website and inspirational galleries to get an idea of how a frame will look. Everything is customisable with both wood and metal frames, standard and custom size options and an online preview.

Design studio There are options to create a frame, a mount or both when entering the Design Studio

Sample A picture can be uploaded to the site so that you can see how your image looks inside the chosen frame

PICTURE FRAMES

This is another British website that specialises in custom frames with tens of combinations of frame and mount, as well as custom size support. You can upload a preview of your picture and there is a simple step-by-step system to work through the available options, while a price tally appears in the top left of the screen so you can keep to a budget. There are also options for multi-aperture frames, plus free delivery for orders over £65. Visit www. picframes.co.uk for more information and to get started.

Extras There are additional extras such as stands, backing tape,picture hooks and glass cleaner that can be added on to the order

Techniques

Professionals from the industry reveal all you need to know about black-and-white photography

32

Master monochrome

See the world in black and white and discover the best subjects to shoot

44

The benefits of black & white

We speak to three experts to find out how and why they shoot in black and white

56

Perfect portraits

James Nader shares his pro secrets and portfolio of fashion portraits

64

Shoot stunning landscapes

Discover the form and texture of the black and white landscape image

76

Shooting the streets in B&W

Head outside and photograph the streets in black and white with our guide

88

Documenting life in black & white

Photographer Carol Allen Storey shares her incredible career

32

64

44

56

Techniques

Master

monochr

TRANSFORM A VISTA

Embrace black and white and transform your colour captures into stunning monochrome masterpieces

ome

Master monochrome

Discover how to see the world in blackandwhite, andfindoutwhich arethebest subjects to shoot

B lack-and-white photography has really stood the test of time. Even after the dawning of the digital age, which brought us better colour and millions of megapixels, we continue to embrace the traditional medium.

It’s even considered somewhat of a genre in itself although there are no real limits to the subjects you can shoot. So whether you photograph landscapes, portraits, fashion, weddings or even wildlife, monochrome can be moulded to suit anyone’s artistic style. These days, digital photography offers a lot more creative freedom, so black and white has become much more accessible. Fortunately, we no longer have to select between shooting in either colour or black and white, as with digital you can do both, even simultaneously. The darkroom has also been updated thanks to the development of image-editing software programs such as Photoshop. This gives photographers a lot more control over the conversion process when it comes to adjusting light, contrast and tonal range. To help you embrace black and white again in your portfolio, we’ve put together this 12-page ultimate guide. Covering all you need to know about camera settings, composition and conversions, we’ll take you step by step through the entire shooting-to-editing process. We’ll also guide you through putting it all into practice with some hands-on shooting tutorials for landscapes, portrait and street photography. Follow along with us and find out

how you can convert your lifeless colour captures into some stunning monochrome masterpieces.

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Techniques

From colour to black and white

It may sound strange to traditional black-and-white photographers, but shooting in colour is now essential if you want to get great black-and-white shots. In the professional industry, it’s common practice for photographers to shoot their black-and-white images in colour first, with the intention to convert to monochrome

later. The benefit here of course is that you leave your shots open to all options, so if it doesn’t work in black and white, it’s still a great colour image.

This This method also gives you

a a

lo lot more control over the

co conversion process, enabling

y you to take a much more considered approach to adjusting the photograph’s contrast and tonal range.

In order to do this successfully however, you’ll need to ensure that you’re shooting in RAW file formats first. This way, you’ll be able to gather as much information in the scene as possible so that you’re guaranteed great- quality conversions that provide plenty of detail across the entire photograph. Knowing the type of colour shots that will convert well to black and white is key, and can be a real time-saver when it comes to editing. It’s worth noting that vibrant shots with a lot of different colour hues don’t always

translate well to monochrome, particularly if certain tones appear similar when desaturated, such as blue

and red for example. Surprisingly, it’s captures that offer a muted colour palette that convert better to black and white, as you have a lot more control over the tonal contrast and ultimately the strength of the composition.

FLEXIBILITY The real trick to black-and- white photography is being able to shoot something that works equally as well in colour as it does in monochrome.

“Knowing the type of shots that will convert well is key”

DYNAMIC SHAPES Using shapes as features within a monochrome conversion makes your shots more dynamic.The almost layered effect also addsdepth.

MUTED TONES An image with a muted colour palette makes an ideal black-and-white conversion,enabling you to take control over contrast and tonal range.

STRONG CONTRAST Convert well contrasted captures to monochrome. Shots that are a little under or overexposed can also be rescued this way.

SUBJECT MATTERS Think carefully about whether or not the subject with the frame will suit being in black and white.

Convenience or conversion?

Most digital cameras offer a built-in black-and-white shooting mode, which although convenient, isn’t great if image quality is what you’re after. This is largely due to the fact that these files are saved in JPEG format on the camera as opposed to RAW. Be aware that you’ll be sacrificing a lot of extra image detail if you opt to shoot straight into black and white in-camera. RAW files, on the other hand, offer a lot more information. Conversions will be less destructive to the overall image quality as finer details can be retained within the shot.

RAW

JPEG

PRESETS This area contains the gradients that ship with the program. Any you have saved will be here too.

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RED FILTER

The red filter/colour channel is ideal for enhancing blue or dramatic skies in a landscape photograph

Lightens red/orange tones

Darkens blue/green tones

Master monochrome

Converting with channels

When composing a black-and-white image in colour, it’s important to pay attention to the hues that feature within the frame. It’s these colours that are ultimately responsible for the tonal range within your black-and-white image. Before digital technology, black-and-white film photographers would rely on colour filters to enhance or adjust specific tones and contrast

BLUE FILTER

Adjusting the blue filter will bring out warmer tones. This is fantastic is you’re shooting a sunset scene or want to lighten a dark-blue sky

within their shots. These days, we can do largely the same thing, using image-editing software. However, understanding how these filters and ultimately colour channels can affect your image is crucial. This is particularly important when you’re converting a colour capture to monochrome, or even looking to strengthen a black and white composition while shooting.

Lightens blue/green tones

Darkens orange/red tones

Convert a colour capture using channels

GREEN FILTER

The green filter, like the blue, can be used to enhance warm tones in the scene you’re shooting

Lightens blue/green tones

Darkens orange/red tones

Techniques

FOLLOW THE RULES

Compositional rules can be incredibly useful when framing for black and white. Use the rule of thirds or lead-in lines to help strengthen the structure of a shot

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Composition rules

Master monochrome

Things to look out for in monochrome

1

LEAD-IN LINES

Encourage the viewer to engage

with the scene with lead-in lines to guide their eyes around the frame.

2

SUBJECT

Distinct subjects that stand out

can work just as well in black and white as they do in colour.

FOCUS ON FORM

Be bold when it comes to composing and look for strong dynamic shapes that offer texture and contrast

The strength of a black-and-white image lies in its composition. Unlike with colour photography where vivid hues can command attention, black- and-white captures rely heavily on their content in order to engage viewers with the frame. Using a few key compositional pointers can go a long way in helping you

to strengthen the structure of your black-and-

white shots. Regardless of whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits or even still life. One of the most popular compositional rules for monochrome photography, which also applies to colour, is the use of lead-in lines. Use them to enhance or even create an illusion of depth that can then guide the viewer’s gaze through the entire frame. Lead-in lines don’t necessarily need to be straight either, think creatively when composing for black and white and look for diagonals or even curves. For more dynamic compositions when photographing architecture, landscapes or even abstract forms, focus on framing bold shapes that will noticeably stand in the

d

foreground or background of your

shot. This will help to add structure to your monochrome image and, in good light, can offset contrast nicely too. Photographing textured surfaces

is is another great compositional guide

for for b black and white. Ideal if lighting

conditions di i appear a little flat, you can

include textured surfaces within the frame to naturally increase contrast areas and add an additional visual element to the frame. This is particularly important if you’re shooting abstract subjects, but can also be applied to portraiture with weathered skin and even street photography as brickwork translates incredibly well when converted. Having a good idea of what you want to achieve, or even being able to envision the end result is important when framing for a black-and-white image in colour. This will not only guide you during the conversion process but will also help when it comes to selecting the right camera settings for the best exposure.

3

LIGHT

Contrast is key to adding depth,

so ensure the light and your exposure settings are spot on.

4

TEXTURE

A great way to enhance the feel

of depth in a black-and-white image and bring out contrast.

5

RULE OF THIRDS

The rule of thirds works

excellently for monochrome stills. Use your camera’s grid lines for best results.

“Use lead-in lines to create an illusion of depth that can guide the viewer’s gaze”

Techniques

Filters for B&W

Filters can enhance your black and white photography but you need to know how to use them to get the full benefit. The SRB-Griturn filter kit is used in B&W photography to enhance colours within the shot, with each filter enhancing different aspects. Red filters help to exaggerate clouds and darken greens, whilst lightening reds and yellows. An orange filter will enhance detail such as stone work as well as subduing blemishes in portraits. Yellow filters darken blue skies, improve contrast, and lighten yellows. A green filter will lighten foliage, as well as helping cloud effects. Visit www. srb-griturn.com for more details.

Exposing correctly

While it is always important to expose your images correctly, when you are planning to convert your images to black and white this is particularly vital. A monochrome image relies heavily on the tonal range in the scene. If you underexpose the image too much, areas of the image that should be various shades of grey will ‘block up’ as dense, pure-black shadow. If you overexpose the image too much, you risk losing highlight detail, something that never looks great but can be particularly unappealing in black-and-white scenes. One of the joys of black and white photography is being able to dodge and burn in the digital darkroom so you need to give yourself room to play with in your editing software, which means capturing images that are neither too dark or too light. Scenes with a high degree of contrast (with very bright and very dark areas) always present a challenge in terms

of exposure and this is the kind of scene most likely to cause your camera’s metering system to get confused. You can decide which area of the scene is the most important for your final image and expose accordingly. Alternatively, you can shoot two separate exposures (one with the shadows in mind and one for the highlights) and merge them later. One more thing to be aware of when you are exposing your images is the role of the ISO setting. If you find that you need to brighten the image up in post-production you’ll generally notice a lot more noise in the shadow areas of the image if the shot was captured using a higher ISO (e.g. ISO 800 or 1600). As it’s not always possible to shoot at a lower ISO, it’s best to adopt a policy of ‘exposing to the right’. Take a look at our guide to histograms to see how this works.

“A monochrome image relies heavily on the tonal range in the scene”

Histograms Getting to grips with histograms is vital for B&W

OVEREXPOSED

This histogram shows the result of overexposing the image. The information is crowded into the far right-hand side of the diagram with a sharp spike. Some of the highlight detail may be recoverable but much of it will be lost

CORRECT HISTOGRAM

This histogram is ideal as there is no clipping (represented by sharp spikes) at either the highlight or shadow ends of the figure. The histogram is biased towards the right slightly, ensuring that noise in the shadow areas is kept to an absolute minimum

UNDEREXPOSED

This histogram shows the result of underexposing the shot. The information is clustered towards the far left-hand side with a sharp spike. Some shadow detail will be recoverable but is likely to be noisy with poor detail and colour accuracy

Top tip

The

subject’s

is out pose

and

expression

especially

are

important

when

there

colour

no

to

make

the

shot

stand

Portraits

Portrait photographers have worked in black and white since the dawn of photographic time. From Julia Margaret Cameron to David Bailey, photographers have used monochrome to capture portraits with style. Black-and-white portraits can look either modern or classic with equal success. The clear advantages of shooting without colour include the ability to remove distracting elements and smooth out uneven skin tones and blemishes. When there’s no colour to worry about, you are free to push the contrast to its extremes and create a very wide range of effects. The absence of vibrant hues also means that it’s easier to capture impromptu portraits when the subject’s clothing doesn’t have the required tones or the surroundings aren’t ideal. However, it’s important to remember that shooting in black and white doesn’t allow you to take your eye off the ball in terms of planning and preparing a portrait shoot. Simple, fairly plain clothing with a relatively small range of tones will usually work best for black-and-white portraits. It’s also important not to expect your portraits to automatically look like the work of one of the greats simply by converting it to black and white. It’s even more important to consider your subject’s pose and expression, as the best black and white portraits will almost always be very strong in these respects. Be sure to pay attention to the lighting as much as you can, because in black and white the contrast between well-lit areas of the frame and areas of shadow is always accentuated.

MODEL MONO

Black-and-white portraits have the potential to look really striking, but the right lighting and pose is required

Master monochrome

BACK IN BLACK

Simple clothing works well in mono – we asked our model to wear a classic leather jacket

BLACK BACKGROUND

MODEL

SIMPLE SETUP

SOFTBOX

ANGLED 45°

Great black-and-white portraits can often be achieved with minimal lighting. Here, we used just one flash with a softbox

Top tip

black-

best

landscape

the

For

and-white

out

seek

include

shots,

that

patterns,

scenes

distinctive

and

shapes

textures

Techniques

Landscapes

Although the iconic landscape photographer Ansel Adams worked almost exclusively in black and white, landscape photography is often associated with colour. One of the main inspirations for capturing landscapes is the appeal of the warm, golden colours produced by late afternoon and early morning light, or the glow of a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. However, landscapes also offer a wealth of textures, shapes and patterns that lend themselves perfectly to black and white. Without the distraction of colour, the landscape is both simplified and endowed with an appealing timelessness. Black-and-white landscapes taken today can look little different to the photographs taken in the 1940s by Ansel Adams himself. However, in some respects, black-and-white landscape photography can present greater challenges than shooting in colour. Without a beautiful blue sky or warm orange sunset to rely on, the composition of the shot itself becomes even more important. With this

in mind, it’s vital that you take extra time to carefully assess each and every element of the scene before taking the photograph. Although all the elements of the scene need to be in harmony in all landscape images, the

final photo really won’t work at all if this isn’t n’t achieved with a black-and-white scene. It’s also worth remembering that the time of day still counts with black and white landscapes. Images taken at the beginning and end of the day will have much softer shadows than photos taken around midday with the sun at its highest.

MOODY GREYS

Black and white can be used to create atmospheric, brooding landscapes with dramatic skies and strikingly simple elements

SEE IN MONO

Traditional scenes that work well in colour, like this landscape, can also shine in black and white, especially with a dull sky

Master monochrome

“In some respects, black-and- white landscape photography can present greater challenges than shooting in colour”

Get the perfect monochrome landscape photo

1 COMPOSE Pay close attention to your composition and keep an eye out for anything distracting in the frame.

This is always important but is particularly vital for great black-and-white landscape images in which all the elements have to work together perfectly.

2 TRIPOD Using a tripod low and close to the ground means that you can make the most of lead-in lines such

as the boarded walkway along the pier, as we’ve used in this shot. Wooden boards like these have a texture that’s really appealing when converted to monochrome.

3 SETTINGS Opt for a long exposure to make the most of any movement in the clouds. This helps to keep your

exposure as simple and uncluttered as possible. Use a narrow aperture like f16 to get the maximum depth of field in your image.

Top tip

but

RAW

in

camera’s

to view set Shoot

mode

your

control

to

white

picture

and

black

monochrome

on

previews

LCD

the

Techniques

Street

photography

Street photography became popular with the rise of 35mm and other portable-camera systems. Henri Cartier- Bresson’s classic black-and-white reportage images still influence street photographers today and this is

a field of photography where monochrome images far

outnumber colour shots. Black and white offers street shooters instant artistic and practical advantage, and this element of the medium harks back to the tradition of photojournalistic images that for many years were exclusively black and white. The very nature of street photography dictates that the photographer cannot control the range of colours within the scene and in many situations this could result in a much less appealing image. Black and white’s ability to simplify the image provides a way of creating graphic,

captivating images. In terms of subjects for this type of project, you should aim to keep your compositions as simple as possible. This isn’t necessarily easy on busy and crowded streets, but is vital for successful shots. . Very y often, the best images have a degree

of anonymity, without any faces, so keep a look out for hurried feet or hands held pensively behind the back. A bustling shopping centre or high street can be a daunting place at times but keep watch for moments of human interaction and affection, as these can look even more striking and emotive in

a public setting.

Shoot everyday life in captivating monochrome

1 HIP SHOT Shooting from the hip is a popular technique among street photographers as it allows them to take candid shots without people paying close attention to the fact that they are being

photographed, although the results can be a little hit and miss unless you are used to this method.

2 MONO PREVIEW Shooting RAW and setting your camera to its monochrome mode allows you to see a black-and-white version of your image on the back of

the camera when you press the image review button, which is really useful.

3 SETTINGS Use a fairly narrow

aperture of at least f8 in order to get a decent amount of depth of field in the shot. Also ensure that the shutter speed you use is reasonably fast to ensure sharp shots. If necessary, make use of a higher ISO setting to compensate.

tellinG A stoRY

Black and white has a classic photojournalistic feel to it and works perfectly on the street

stReet VieW

Capturing people interacting on the street is possible when shooting discreetly from the hip

“Very often the best images have a degree of anonymity”

Master monochrome

Thomas

Leuthard

Pro street photographer Thomas Leuthard gives his expert tips for black and white

Web: www.85mm.ch/

Why does black and white work so well for street photography? Black and white reduces a photograph to its forms, patterns and basic content. The old masters were all shooting in black and white – although this isn’t the main reason for shooting monochrome.

How do you convert your images to black and white? I shoot in RAW – which is always in colour – but my camera is set to black and white. This way I can see on my LCD what the end result will look like. I actually convert it into black and white on the computer when I process the file.

What shooting tips do you have for achieving excellent black-and-white street images? The most important thing is to see already in black and white on the streets. You have to look for interesting structures, patterns and content first. There are items that don’t look good in black and white. You have to learn how things will look – this is very important. You also have to be sure that you have a good dynamic range in your image.

Do you have any specific post-processing or Photoshop tips that you use for street photography?

I often add some more contrast to my images – there is not much more I

do in post-processing. People always think that post-processing makes a lot of difference to photographs but in my opinion can only improve a shot by five to ten per cent. If the basic content is missing, you cannot add it in.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start practising with this type of monochrome imagery?

I think it’s important to decide either to only shoot in either black and

white or colour. I believe that you cannot focus on both, as these are completely different. But don’t think that you get a better photograph just by converting it to black and white. It’s your personal decision and you should stick to it.

© Thomas Leuthard

Reflections

Use urban locations and props to add something different to your images. The bus window works well to create a unique portrait here

vvv

Techniques

The benefits of black & white

We explore the hypnotic world of black-and- white photography, talking to three high-profile photographers who are deemed experts in the art of conversion

Body portrait with veil

“Nowadays there is a lot of contamination among photographers, more than in the past, because people are copying what they see on the internet rather than creating their own style. In my work, I hope what is shown is my personal vision of a woman’s beauty” Shot details: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm lens at 35mm and f25, 1/250sec, ISO 200

© Gian Marco Marano

The benefits of black & white

8

Techniques

CloudS diving

(MonTreal CiTy)

“I don’t go anywhere without my MP3 player for listening to music while I work. The passion for music is strongly tied with my passion for photography. The songs directly influence the way I photograph, my moods and the way I interpret what I see in a given moment” Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 70mm lens at 24mm and f16, 1/500sec, ISO 320

8 The Cherry

river, Magog

CiTy, Canada

“Landscapes look great in B&W, especially when they offer wonderful cloudy skies! When I convert a landscape into B&W, I feel like a painter who’s painting with his emotions. B&W landscape photography can emphasise that intimate connection with nature, outdoors and freedom” Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-70mm lens at 24mm and f8, 1/800sec, ISO 320

© Guy Gagnon

“Working in black and white makes me feel like a painter, not a photographer”

T imeless, emotive, pure and modest: all adjectives that perfectly sum up the niche of black-and-white photography, while boasting some of the qualities that colour photography can lack. While we aren’t encouraging readers

to permanently switch to shooting in black and white, this feature will illustrate the copious benefits of seeing the world through a metaphorical monochromatic lens. Whether it helps

you to focus attention on composition or simply allows you to deepen your appreciation of light and shade, black-and-white photography can provide any level of photographer with an assorted array of new skills and techniques, boldly opening the door to an exciting realm of photographic exploration. Canadian-born, Belgium-residing Guy Gagnon (www. guygagnon.com) is one of the world’s fastest up-and-coming photographers, with top client credits that now include IKEA. Guy’s genre preference runs a wide gamut between nature abstracts and architecture – both of which he claims lend well to black-and-white photography. “By redirecting my passion to more accessible themes like architecture, urban and flowers, I have found a way to achieve harmony,” he says. “Architectural photography allows me to tame cities of iron and concrete and find a ‘charm’ within them. With my studio photography shooting plants and flowers, I can keep some

affiliation with nature. These two themes often recur in my work and complement each other: the cold, sharp aesthetics and straight lines of architecture are opposed by the delicacy, curves, sensitivity and poetry of nature. These themes have influenced me to switch to the world of black and white to accentuate this darker but more poetic theme.” Unlike most photographers, Guy’s photography is predominantly all black and white. He suggests the reason for this is because it allows him to think, and create, outside the box. “Black and white allows me to detach from the cliché ‘souvenir photo’ approach to photography,” he explains. “Working in black and white makes me feel like a painter, not a photographer. Shooting in this way allows me to focus my attention on the light and shade, textures, shapes and expressions. It’s really a matter of personal choice, but in my opinion black and white can lead to a more abstract reading of reality, which is arguably more demanding and more challenging to produce. Here, photographers cannot use flattering colours or coloured light to distract the eye. You cannot cheat in black and white.” When coming across a building, flower or landscape, Guy claims that he will assess the scene using specific criteria, to decipher whether it will later merit a black-and-white conversion. “I think to myself – does this scene have any

©

5 TOP TIPS

How Guy Gagnon gets great black-and-whites

Web: www.guygagnon.com

although reluctant to label himself as a fully-fledged ‘professional’, French canadian guy gagnon has racked up an impressive cV of photographic work. one of his many clients is Swedish furniture manufacturer ikea, which retails several of his black-and-white flower images in stores across the globe and can be sourced in the brand’s 2011 catalogue. based in belgium, guy earns his crust mostly through his day job in the office, but spends every other available minute pursuing his creative passion: photography. “if i could, i would switch my whole life to the world of photography,” guy exclaims. “but this universe is rather inaccessible to ordinary mortals. it is for the best, the real professionals, but also those who are lucky enough to be financially supported – having a foot well placed in this world also helps. however, i am still a passionate photographer, because i shoot with my emotions and my personality. This brings a sense of freedom as i have learned over the years that we must take pictures to please ourselves, and not take photos to please others.” For more information on guy and his work, please visit www. guygagnon.com.

1 Lower your ISO

when possible, maintain the lowest possible sensitivity (iSo) to minimise grain. it’s better to simulate the grain to your liking later.

2 Beware B&W

Never, ever shoot in black and white. Shoot in colour and keep the b&w conversion to the editing software.

3 Experiment

Play with your camera! Turn your camera on a different angle, play with perspectives and point of views. Play with the horizontal and vertical distortion of a wide-angle lens to add dynamic movement.

4 Exploit grey days

Shoot during grey days! Use a polariser to improve your sky and to reduce bad reflections, and do not forget to increase your exposure.

5 Don’t be lazy

Don’t convert your picture in b&w with Photoshop>grayscale or you will get a grey and bland image, without flavour or life. Take your time to use the many more imaginative methods.

power to evoke an emotion or story? Is the quality and nature of light interesting, and does it create any shadows or areas of light? Does it challenge the rules of compositions and offer something new? For me, what makes an artistic black-and-white photograph above all is the approach:

trying to show something slightly more than what is there in reality.” Keen to offer readers advice, Guy suggests tips on sourcing a subject: “Where you find opposites, juxtapositions or complementarities, you will find good black-and-white subjects. It is important not to overload a scene with information – instead, simply focus on one part of the frame. Although black and white reduces disturbing coloured elements, it can also complicate the ‘reading’ of the image when overloaded with details and information. Look for contrasts, textures, shapes, curves and graphics, and remember that light and shadows add to the poetry of the piece.” As well as detailing what elements to actively seek out, the Canadian was keen to explain what aspects should be avoided: “Situations where the sunlight creates areas that are overexposed should be avoided, and the detail will be unrecoverable. Black-and-white overexposed areas will only create white spots without any texture on your picture, rendering it practically useless. Faced with this situation I use one of two solutions: I simply underexpose slightly, or I

The benefits of black & white

The Tree

SISTerS

“I enjoy photographing flowers and plants in my improvised studio at home, but I don’t find enough varied or unusual plants in my immediate environment. Shooting flowers and plants forces me to take my time, to work peacefully” Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-70mm lens at 50mm and f16, 0.8sec, ISO 250

© Guy Gagnon

© Guy Gagnon

Techniques

sTory of

lighTs

“There is nothing better than natural light. Spending hours adjusting the lighting of a studio bulb for a few mins of shooting is something I’ll never appreciate” shot details: Canon EOS 20D with 24-70mm lens at 27mm and f7, 1/1600sec, ISO 400

The Wolubilis (brussels ciTy)

“A large building may appear repulsive if viewed from afar, so only concentrate on parts of the buildings. From a closer perspective, you’ll discover prettier elements. Don’t condemn the subject without taking the time to analyse it from all angles” shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-70mm lens at 67mm and f9, 1/640sec, ISO 200

© Guy Gagnon

© Guy Gagnon

create a high dynamic range image later. A problem that will concern landscape photographers will be the improper use of a polariser. In landscape photography, the polarising filter deepens blue skies, reduces contrast and cuts out glare from reflections. However, if you want to convert it into black and white, using a polariser can hinder your results, as it ‘eats’ light and will make many areas of your image too dark. It is much better, therefore, to use an ND grad filter and exposure for the entire frame correctly.” Despite his penchant for monochrome, Guy claims that he always shoots in colour but forces himself to think in black and white. “It comes with a lot of practise, but when I shoot urban architecture and cityscapes I concentrate on the composition, pay particular attention to the levels of grey and consider the light composition.” When presented with a colour-clad scene it can be tempting to refrain from erasing the scene of its obvious vivacity, but this pro is of the opinion that a colourful and contrasting scene can offer much more opportunity when converted into black and white. “Experience will show you what colours work best in black and white, but a wide range of shades and hues can offer so much interest in this way.” In terms of technique, Guy refuses to go below 1/500sec and instead prefers to ramp up the ISO to combat shake,

© Guy Gagnon

forgoTTen

“Any genre and topic is good for photography in B&W. Even the nose of your favourite dog or the metal drum of your washing machine! It just depends on how you perceive and compose the picture. The potential of a subject depends on your way of seeing the subject, your sensitivity and your interpretation” shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-70mm lens at 70mm and f4, 1/160sec, ISO 1600

sometimes to sensitivities as high as ISO 1600. “I find image blur very frustrating, but luckily I have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II which deals with noise very well,” he explains. “In landscape and architecture photography I almost exclusively use an aperture of f8, except when I want to play with depth of field and employ a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L USM lens. For portraits, I shoot at f2.8 to f5.6 to get a nice bokeh effect and use my Canon 85mm f1.2 L USM. Finally, for photographing flowers I usually shoot around f16, or sometimes f22, and choose to use either a Canon 100mm f2.8 USM or Canon 50mm f1.4 USM lens. Both are sharp as a tack, and perfect for drawing out details.” After shooting his frames in colour, Guy retreats to his editing studio where he converts the chosen RAW files into 16-bit TIFFs. “Recently I tried the new Adobe Camera CS5, which convinced me to make the switch. First I perfect the white balance and then recover any details lost in over- or underexposed zones. Later in Photoshop, I do some minor colour and contrast corrections and reduce the noise when required. I save a final copy of the full-colour version of the picture, under 8 bits and from my 16-bit version, then convert it into black and white with the use of layers made from colour channels. The moment you convert it is the long-awaited moment when the image is revealed to you – it reveals its

The benefits of black & white

Wedding Outfit

“A bridal fashion shoot, shot on location and lit by flash with no softbox, so the light has intensity. I had cardboard and gaffer tape to create some unusual light control and worked with the model to create this relaxed shot” Shot details: Nikon D3X with 70-200mm lens at 150mm and f11, 1/30sec, ISO 200

© James Nader

Techniques

© James Nader

After the

PArty

© James Nader

“This picture is from one of my stories for a magazine that was doing a feature on the autumn/winter party season clothing. We were on location at Weston Park in Shropshire, which is beautifully preserved and full of antiques. We all thought the floor was striking and wanted a shot to capture it. We added the hat fascinator as an added item of interest. The original image was a colour version, but I liked it in black and white. It is difficult to find good editorial models outside of London, but this girl, Hollie, was great and had enough quirkiness for the shoot” Shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens at 85mm and f2.8, 1/15sec, ISO 400

© James Nader

The benefits of black & white

“I will always have an idea when shooting a picture if it will work in black and white”

TraSh

The dreSS

“I love this image for its beauty against the old beauty of the Victorian pier. I thrive on creating extraordinary lighting that just makes you think about what’s going on. I’d brought the Bowens battery travel pack with me – it works well, as I’ve overexposed the background for drama” Shot details: Nikon D3X with 70-200mm lens at 70mm and f11, 1/30sec, ISO 400

MenSWear

clIenT

“This was shot as part of a menswear Steel and Jelly marketing brief. The location was another classic house, which was lit by continuous lighting or tungsten. It was an in-between shot and the model was relaxing” Shot details: Nikon D3X with 70-200mm lens at 80mm and f2.8, 1/15sec, ISO 400

secrets, its strength and character. From these layers, I remove unwanted sections and I only keep the detailed parts. I play with dodging and burning tools, but I also adjust the light and contrast to my taste from the layer masks. When I’m done I

will convert the final picture into an 8-bit file and save it. This is the version of the image I want and enjoy. Stripped of its colour, the picture becomes more pure. The coloured elements that caused discord in the photo now become harmonious in black and white. By paying attention to improving the shadows, density and light, we reduce the presence of disturbing factors in favour of a more evocative or poetic scene. For me, converting a colour photo to a black and white is like dipping a film negative in the developer liquid and discovering the final image.” Famed for his quirky edge within the fashion industry, James Nader (www.jamesnader.co.uk, www. naderphotography.co.uk) has been shooting for over twenty years. Because of his history with film photography, James believes he has a secret weapon for capturing black-and- white images. “I come from the traditional darkroom of old, with fixers, films times and prints. Although I now work with digital cameras, the skills never leave you. Having the understanding of what is needed in the picture is not always down to levels, curves or black-and-white filters. It is more deeply rooted in traditional understanding of tonal ranges and subtle details of the finished picture. I was always in the darkroom working towards a picture from my own black-and- white processed film. I was inspired by the classic film star photographers such as Sinclair Bull – I managed to see one exhibition about his work, and that was it. Black and white was how I started to see things. I developed my lighting style based on how he lit, and this is why my lighting works so well.

It just works with black and white. I even emulate the softness

in some of my shots.” Working in the fashion industry, colour is obviously an essential component of James’s work; however, the Brit opines that harnessing the simplicity of the black-and-white medium can lend itself for more creative and challenging compositions. “The best part of shooting black and white for me is how it makes me feel about the image. It makes me think about the shot a little more and therefore employ a

greater degree of concentration. With colour you can tell if it

is working almost the right way in terms of how the colours

are working together, but in black and white you have to think deeper. Although my colour work is often quite saturated and intense for fashion, I think the simplicity of shooting in black and white is appealing. It makes the image a lot more simple and balanced and you tend to focus on the composition more. Shading and tonal ranges are your colour palette and you need to understand how colours actually work in black and white.” Choosing a subject matter – or, in James’s case, a model and scenery – which will transcend richly into black and white

can be half the battle. James shares his tactics for knowing which attributes to look for. “I will always have an idea when shooting a picture if it will work in black and white. You have to just know it will work, but as a guide it tends to be when I am using low light or am on location, for example shooting

a story or portraits on location in a hotel room. For portrait

fashion work I love how it can bring the image down to a level that exudes a classic feel.” James confesses to predominantly using a Nikon D3X with 70-200mm 2.8 Nikkor VR lens to capture his fashion-focused frames, but also carries a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8, Nikon 85mm 1.4, Sigma 105mm 2.8, Macbook Pro 17”, iPad, iPhone, Sony

5 TOP TIPS

James Nader on how to get the best B&Ws

Web: www.naderphotography. co.uk, www.trainyourlens.co.uk

with a whopping two decades of experience under his professional belt, James Nader is a cutting-edge fashion and beauty photographer who has notoriously achieved widespread praise for his quirky yet classy style. “i would not do anything else now – i love how and where i work, and still look for great clients. The main thing about what i do now is that i work for people i get on with, and my work is all about my style and how i see things. it may not be everyone’s fashion taste, but it is mine, and the clients who use me like the quirkiness of my work, especially my lighting.” commencing from 2011, James will be running a series of masterclasses, revealing how to use location lighting with models and the razorbrush retouching technique. “This will be an in-depth resource with video pay-per-view, featuring downloads, location practical courses and ‘learn with James’ fashion shoots.” For more information on these workshops, or to register your interest, visit www.trainyourlens.co.uk.

1 Be interesting

if you are trying to sell b&w images, be prepared for a hard slog. Make it interesting, wild and wonderful. if not, just keep it real!

2 Research

Seek out knowledge of black and white online – reference the masters and see how they did it.

3 Shade and light

get in the studio and set up something, or go outdoors and do the same but try lighting with flash or available light and understand how it affects your black-and-white images.

4 Careful with contrast

be careful with contrast – it’s easy to use the brightness and contrast in Photoshop for a quick fix, but experiment with the photo filters and settings.

5 Old school

if you have access to a traditional black-and-white film camera, give it a go! Try it with some filters and see the results in print. it will help you to understand the new darkroom.

digital camera for HD video, LaCie 500GB rugged hard drive and even has access to a Hasselblad when higher-res files are demanded. “I prefer not to use larger cards, as it takes a while to copy across to hard drive, and I sometimes use this as a way to re-group away from the clients, so I opt for various 4GB memory cards,” he confides. “I have my own lighting kit which is both Elinchrom studio/Bowens. At the moment Bowens sponsors my equipment, so most of my shots are taken on Bowens, but I do use Profoto too.” James starts his sessions with a light reading that gives him f11 at ISO 200. “I don’t know why but this really is my signature light reading, in continuous or film lighting it will be more like an f4 and ISO 400 plus. I do tend to use my ISO to push or pull the contrast of the image, as it gives me rich tones that are also punchy. As I am using slower shutter speeds, I need a tripod. The lower light and timed exposure allows more information to be built up in the shot, and ensures a richer image both in colour or black and white.” When shooting a frame that he knows is destined to become black and white, James says he will make sure there

Techniques

BODy

POrTraIT

“I’ve always liked women’s grace, and I try to represent it as best as I can in my work. Over the years I pursued my vision of women’s beauty from my first ‘model books’ to my last works, with more and more awareness of what I want and how to get it” Shot details: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm lens at 32mm and f18, 1/250sec, ISO 200

DEux FIllES

“Shooting in black and white means mainly dealing with light and shadows, and as a rule of thumb high- contrasted subjects work very well for creating black- and-white images. I always shoot at the lowest ISO my camera allows, at 250 sync and in a range of stops, usually from f11 to f22-25” Shot details: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm lens at 32mm and f22, 1/250sec, ISO 200

© Gian Marco Marano

FIVE TOP TIPS

Gian Marco Marano on what to consider

Italian-born and bred Gian Marco Marano has been a professional shooter for just over five years, but says he has always had a passion for photography. “My father gave me my first camera – a Ricoh 500G – when I was six, and since then I can say I’ve always been involved in photography. In the Nineties I directed my attention to figure studies as I’ve always been attracted by fine-art nudes. I remember I participated in a glamour and artistic-nude workshop and then I started to develop my first own projects, reading a lot and learning self- taught. In the last few years I have concentrated mainly on dance and fine-art photography. I know it sounds obvious, but I think that if you really want something, you have to take your chances to get it. I feel as though I have just started along this creative path, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know that I want to explore it deeper, creating images that I am proud of and I hope will be appreciated by other people.” If you are a fan of Gian’s work, view his dazzling portfolio at www.gianmarcomarano. com, where a beautiful range of fine-art prints are listed for sale.

1 Learn from the masters

look to the works of the masters of photography as well as to the other photographers in order to learn techniques, find inspiration and develop your personal taste.

2 Subject matters

be sure that the subject you choose is right for black and white in terms of lighting, contrast and tones.

3 Experiment

keepexperimentingwitheditinguntilyoufindtheblack-and-white conversion technique that suits your tastes, keeping in mind that simplicity is often better.

4 Shooting focus

when shooting, focus on the results you want to obtain and try to find a way of getting it.

5 Details count

once you’ve learnt the basics, concentrate on the details – it’s what makes the difference.

“Black and white doesn’t copy the reality, but represents it with its own language”

is enough detail in the highlights and in the shadows, and ensure there is enough light in the eyes to really punch energy into the shot. “Some type of reflection will do the trick; if you don’t have a light there, the eyes will look dark and lifeless.” Offering advice, he continues: “Try to make sure shadows have some contrast but aren’t too dark. If you are using harsher light, try to use white reflection and not silver, as this works better on the skin. Don’t hold it too close – good shots often have reflection, but just enough to pick out some detail in the shadowy areas.” Post-shoot, James heads straight into the digital darkroom to create his monochromatic masterpieces: “I sometimes use Capture One, but recently have started using Lightroom, as I love the way it does a whole range of different processes and allows you to create great online galleries. Photoshop is my digital darkroom and I will use this as much as possible to control and enhance certain pictures. I make little tweaks to the levels, brightness, contrast, curves and do a final sharpen at the required size before saving. My advice is to not desaturate your images, as you will lose much of the information in the image. Use the filters within Elements or Photoshop to control the image and get the best out of it.” To

read more about James Nadar, his career and thoughts on the monochrome genre turn to page 38. Passionate as much about fine-art photography as he is the female form, Italian Gian Marco Marano (www. gianmarcomarano.com) has become a connoisseur in the ways of black-and-white photography. Specialising in artistic nudes, Gian is currently creating a portfolio featuring dance and contortion. “The special factor about black-and-white photography is that it doesn’t just copy the reality, but it represents it with its own language,” the pro photographer explains. “When I shoot a photo I already know if the final image will be black and white or colour – it’s a matter of what expressive language you want for that project. Of course, some images are more suitable for black and white, especially high-contrasted images.” Preferring a minimalist approach when it comes to kit, Gian mainly utilises one camera and one lens for his nude studio shoots. “Some people are surprised when I tell them that most of my studio work is captured with a Nikon D300 and an 18- 200mm VR Nikkor lens. But you have to consider that when working with powerful studio flashes you have all the light you need, and this means that you can use your camera at the

© Gian Marco Marano

The benefits of black & white

© Gian Marco Marano

Techniques

Arc

“The special factor about black-and-white photography is that it doesn’t just copy the reality, but it represents it with its own language. When I shoot a photo I already know if the final image will be black and white or colour; it’s a matter of what expressive language you want for that project” Shot details: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm lens at 28mm and f16, 1/250sec, ISO 200

Arch

Make sure you don’t forget about black-and- white landscapes. A well-thought-out monochrome conversion can add another dimension to any simple image

lowest ISO. The lens can be set to a medium aperture, where it works better.” In case he changes his mind, the pro also carries an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.4G, AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8G IF-ED, AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f2.8, Manfrotto tripod 055 XB with spherical head 322 RC2, four Bowens Gemini 1000Ws with accessories and a Gossen Luna Pro-X exposure meter. “I always use an exposure meter for all my studio and most of outdoor and location works, but reaching the exposure that suits your taste is often a matter of trial and error – and something you may have to experiment with to perfect. My personal taste for my figure studies is to overexpose the outline of the body a little, in order to emphasise the body

form. Other than that I don’t employ any special techniques with my accessories; I simply try to master them as best as I can in order to realise what I have in my mind. Shooting in black and white means mainly dealing with light and shadows, and as a rule of thumb high-contrasted subjects work very well for black-and-white images.” One of Gian’s biggest grumbles is inadequate calibration,

a factor he says can potentially ruin a perfect photo. “Often

people spend lot of money buying high-end equipment, but they do the editing part on non-calibrated monitors. I think that a calibrating device in the ‘Photoshop era’ is essential if you want to obtain reliable results – not only for colour photography, but for black-and-white imagery too, as you may want to add tonal effects.” After a shoot Gian loads his images, which have been captured as RAW files, into Nikon’s Capture NX 2, where he saves the frames as 16-bit TIFFs and opens them in Photoshop. “I know it will sound like obvious advice, but the best tip about editing I would give is to do the best you can at the shooting stage in terms of lighting, exposure, correct focal length, aperture and shutter speed, etc. A good original image will need only very basic editing work, whereas a bad picture will need hours of editing work in order to become just acceptable.” There are several methods to transform a shot into black and white, with each photographer preferring to do something different. “Conversion is one of the big topics you have to deal with when making digital black-and-white images,” Gian explains. “Before finding my favourite black-and-white conversion method I experimented a great deal. Nowadays I find Photoshop’s built-in conversion method very powerful.

It gives you lot of control, although the ‘automatic’ function

works fine as well. Most of my black-and-white body portraits are made by mixing a Photoshop black-and-white built-in conversion layer with a personalised duotone layer.” But what does Gian think are the most crucial elements for strong black-and-white photography? “Good lighting, effective digital conversion and image enhancement,” he replies. “Again, choose contrasted subjects, with a lot of light and shadows, find a conversion that suits your taste and try to enhance the image by adding some contrast.” As a final thought, Gian summarises: “With black-and-white photography, what you have to say counts more than the way you say it.”

The benefits of black & white

Inspiration

JOhn BairD

“This shot was taken in Canterbury during the summer, originally shot in colour but converted to black and white using CS4 and Photomatix Pro by using HDR to give it more texture and contrast. I used a single shot to create three images at different values, from +2.0 to -2.0 ev” Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 4-70mm lens at 35mm and f8, 1/250sec, ISO 100 DP gallery address: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ John Baird

rOn SuttOn

“This shows the Red Arrows at the Southport Air Show in 2007. The position of the light caused the planes to be partly in silhouette, so I thought black and white would be a good option. The curve of the smoke trails adds a little something extra to the image” Shot details: Sony A100 with 17-70mm lens at 70mm and f8, 1/500sec, ISO 100 DP gallery address: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ RonSutton

© Ron Sutton

Patrick Ong

“A stormy and cloudy day at Pangasinan, Philippines” Shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 17-40mm lens at 20mm and f16, 49sec, ISO 50 DP gallery address: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ Patrick_Ong

Oliver geiDel

“Some of the most iconic London landmarks. People were feeding the birds, causing them to frenzy” Shot details: Nikon D90 with 18-105mm lens at 45mm and f8, 1/400sec, ISO 400 DP gallery address: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ bigbadpumpkin

© John Baird

© Patrick Ong

© Oliver Geidel

Techniques

Tears

“Here I tried to engage with the sorrowful feeling that the model portrays. The intensity of the eyes engages with the viewer. The skin was retouched and cleaned in Photoshop, but in a non-destructive way so the skin remains natural” shot details: Hasselblad H4D-40 with 200mm lens at f6.8, 1/250sec, ISO 100

8

© All images in this feature are copyright James Nader

Perfect portraits

Perfect portraits

Expertadvicefortakingblack-and-whiteportraits

T he fashion industry has so many aspiring models and photographers wanting to shoot them that many hopefuls are left outside the party. London- based editorial photographer James Nader is one of the few that have made it through the door, catching

the eyes of big names like Sony BMG and Umberto Gianni. He’s recently completed a stint on Channel 4’s How To Look Good Naked, photographing the fashion victims of the eccentric presenter Gok Wan, and he was even short-listed by Virgin Media to shoot Britain’s Next Top Model. So what makes this contemporary artist stand out from the masses? “I shoot editorial fashion work with a slightly quirky edge,” says James. “There are too many photographers battling for the same fashion work and all exhibiting the same style. I enjoy the idea of creating pictures that have more of a story about them and not just a documentary shot depicting a moment.” His work characteristically retains a stylish simplicity with backdrops that hint at a narrative, such as a lift, a stately home or a grand staircase.

James refuses to allow the confines of his surroundings to inhibit his creativity. “My real passion is for the composite image, which is photography and artwork combined. I have been a traditional photographer through and through, learning from film, but slowly Photoshop has unleashed a whole gamut of possibilities for me.” A glance at his online portfolio reveals a talent for editorial photomontage work, be it a backdrop so surreal it would have brought a smile to Salvador Dali’s lips, or a striking Sin City-style world. “More and more people are looking at this work and starting to realise a simple shoot in a white studio can be a cost-effective solution when I weave the Photoshop magic,” he comments. It is clear from James’s black-and-white photography work that he is strongly influenced by the Forties film noir period. Low-key images and retro-themed shoots add to a fun and diverse book of work. “I tend to observe what is happening, but my true fashion idols would be Peter Lindbergh, Albert Watson, Patrick Demarchelier and of course Bob Carlos Clarke,” he proclaims. “I learned much of my lighting techniques from

MaLe GrooMinG toMaS

“This was shot on location at a Shropshire stately home for a range of photographs to be used for a menswear company. I wanted to create the mood of a relaxed young Lord who was confident and relaxed in his choice of menswear. This shot was lit by the modelling light only on a Bowens Gemini 500” Shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens at f5.6mm, 1/15sec, ISO 800

Lord of

the Manor

“Editorial shoot based around the young Lord of the manor and shot on location in the rain using Profoto battery lighting. It was very windy, but I used the wind to create a little more drama to the shot by waiting for the right moment for the wind to blow his hair and lift the scarf. One light was used to illuminate the trees in the background” Shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens at f4, 1/30sec, ISO 400

Techniques

“My main motivation is trying to be one of the best in the UK and to build a great range of clients who appreciate my work”

Fashionable Wedding

“This shot was part of an editorial collection for a magazine; however since then I have allowed the picture to be used under license to a wedding brand called Fashionable Weddings. I shoot some of their editorials four times a year. The shot was completely lit by a single red head and a timed exposure. It is important that the model keeps still for that fraction of a second and that the photographer calls it” shot details: Nikon D3 with 24-70mm lens at 60mm and f2.8, 1/8sec, ISO 400

8 in a liFt

someWhere

“I was shooting in and around the streets of Manchester and by

accident found this lift in

a street next to a car park.

I asked the model to get

inside the lift to try out some shots. The inside was quite dingy but I had my on-camera Nikon flash and used it to fill and slightly overexpose the foreground. The camera was set to a higher ISO to clean up the

skin tones and create a little more contrast and interest to the shot. She was leaning against the stainless steel panels and right away we found the shot which

worked”

shot details: Nikon D3

with 80-200mm lens at f8, 1/30sec, ISO 400

film pictures and portrait masters from the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’, like Clarence Sinclair Bull. A lot of my fashion shots you see online are created using film lighting and not flash.” It is not surprising to learn that James’s penchant for monochrome is its inherent directness: “I love the contrasts and the atmosphere it conveys. Sometimes colour can confuse how

things look with too many distractions,” he says. “I enjoy using

black and white when creating fashion images and portraits as

it tends to isolate the model. When shooting black and white, it

makes you think differently. Your mindset has to change from colour and you have to think in monochrome. I don’t think just taking a shot and then simply converting it is the way forward, as not all shots are suitable. If you shoot in an environment that has many of the black and white filter colours, such as yellow, oranges and red, sometimes converting them may not work as

the skin can change. I used to shoot black and white with either

a red or yellow filter, as red is a good way to create great skin and dark skies on a sunny day.” As his work is a mixed palette of colour and monochrome works, what is the deciding factor? “I normally choose whether

a shot is going to be monochrome in advance, but will always

shoot colour for the maximum rendition of tones and then use

non-destructive techniques to render into black and white,” he reveals. In order to develop creative concepts, James takes advantage of the internet: “The access and storage is much more convenient than magazines to build references. I think the best way to represent a model in their best light is to really pick the person well for the shoot in question. If they are animated and can buy into what you are about on the day, then this will allow for great interaction. If they don’t, never raise your voice or be too intense, as this will make them shut down all creative input and the shoot will go flat,” he warns. James credits this ability to work well with a model to capturing the winning shot: “I don’t always accept the pose they offer and will more than likely want them to push it more,” he shares. While many get distracted by the model’s expression or pose, James is also taking note of the position of their hands, wanting them to appear soft and at ease. As for the face, he aims to emulate the work of master painters by capturing the model in a candid moment of thought, to create a timeless image. “I tend to control all of my shots with my light source. This really works for me as I have an individual style and one of the key elements is my handle on light and how I let it interact with the subject.” James veers away from shots that are flooded with

light sources, and his top tip is to make what is available work for you instead. Confident in his ability to read light levels, he rarely relies on a meter and tends to use ISO settings to enhance skin tones. Favouring heavy contrast, he works in RAW so that this can be compensated for in post-production. James doesn’t relinquish the manipulation of images to a third party, choosing to carry out all post-production work himself. “I am an intense user of Photoshop and use it to a high level to create my photo composite images. I therefore do all of my retouching, post-production and photo composition,’ he says. “I shoot all images either on card or tethered and on location I have a Nikon wireless setup.” James shoots into a MacBook Pro with 17-inch monitor and 4GB RAM, but all the editing is done on a 24-inch iMac. “I have an A4 Wacom pad for all retouching work and I work with Photoshop for all retouching and optimising of images. I also have Lightroom to collate images and provide clients with a custom online gallery. Then they are uploaded via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to my server and the link is sent to clients.” Once the client has made the final selection, the images are sent via FTP for them to download, so he often doesn’t meet with them again after the shoot.

Perfect portraits

8

8

Techniques

“Sometimes colour can confuse how things look, with too many distractions”

spAce Age

“Part of a set of editorial images which used all things plastic – the eyelashes and wig here. I love to create the impression that the model is so far removed from the photographic session and deep in thought. This is the same technique used by the master painters and can create a long-lasting and beautiful photograph when used with a very simple lighting setup. In this shot, the model is completely lit by only two lights and the shadows controlled by the light shades” shot details: Nikon D3 with 24-70mm lens at f2.8, 1/15sec, ISO 800

Incidentally, the 21st-Century fashion photographer’s favourite types of genres are high-end editorials and advertising work for luxury items like beauty products, jewellery and perfume. But does he have a favourite image to go with it? “My mind flips from liking to not liking my work very quickly,” he admits. “I have a short attention span and believe this is due to the way we use the digital technology. It is quick and efficient but also dismissed readily and therefore easily deleted. I will lose interest in an image rapidly, especially if it is one that I have spent too much time on. This is the case with my site at the moment, and I would love to replace all of the images on there. I suppose I am always trying to create my perfect image and I don’t feel that I have achieved this yet.” James has always been his own boss and began his own interactive agency specialising in photographic screensavers before indulging in photography full-time. This knowledge of technology has served him well in building a name in the business: “In the last two years I have not had a trip abroad

but have focused on my brand,” he says, demonstrating his commitment to becoming the best. His online reputation has become so advanced as a result of this persistence that you will see his name appear first in a Google search for ‘Fashion Photographer’. So what is it he enjoys about this often-stressful industry, where it can be such a struggle to make yourself known? “I love the variety, the ease and the flexibility at which I can work. Clients are now worldwide and this gives me a thrill; I am motivated by creating great images and working within Photoshop. My main motivation is trying to be one of the best in the UK and to build a great range of clients who appreciate my work.” He advises anyone looking to break into the fashion photography world to have a good action plan. “I have at any one time hundreds of emails from would-be hopefuls and assistants wanting placements, work experience, etc, but I simply can’t deal with them all. It simply isn’t good enough writing a simple email and firing it off to me or anyone else to get work as we

A FAshionAble Wedding

“This was shot for Fashionable Weddings to create an editorial feel to the wedding market. I shoot a range of shots for them and for the dress retailer. I wanted to create some movement to the dress and the shot without moving the model. The light source here was a single bulb from the modelling light on the Bowens Gemini. This is not a strong source but, with a good low-light digital camera such as the Nikon D3, you can get a very acceptable low-light shot” shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens at f2.8, 1/15sec, ISO 1600

RetRo fifties

“This project was a personal one. The objective was ‘light and form’ and the emulation of images seen in branding from the Fifties. I love the effect the Tungsten lighting has on the skin. The great Hollywood masters used this effectively as this was the only light form available at the time; however my lighting pedigree has always come from this light source. I also tend to let the shot be a little soft to emulate the lens qualities available” shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens at f4, 1/15sec, ISO 800

Perfect portraits

Techniques

Mystic

“This shot was for a silk company who supply printed silks to some very well-known brands. The exercise was to create pieces that would stand out

in its marketing materials, and so conventional advertising photography was not the route the company wanted. I was commissioned to create six pieces that were all post-produced composite images which individually tell a story. I composed this image from over

35 separate images in

Photoshop to complete the final piece”

shot details: Hasselblad H4D-40 with 35-90mm lens at 90mm and f10, 1/250sec, ISO 100

Perfect portraits

“I think people believe it is easy to be a fashion photographer, but it really isn’t”

are all busy trying to make a living,” he says candidly. “The best way is to work on a portfolio, either out of college if you have

a flair for photography, or in college via a foundation or degree

in photography. Whilst the degree is only part of what you will need, the real way forward is to format a great creative portfolio with interesting work and challenging projects showing use of

camera, light, dealing with models and how you put the shot together afterwards in post. I think people believe it is easy to be

a

fashion photographer by some of the comments I receive, but

it

really isn’t. There are just too many people out there doing

the same thing and with the introduction of better cameras and equipment it has become a very accessible subject.” As a child, James was fascinated by his father’s camera and how he would disappear into a darkened room and emerge with pictures of family life. “I had forgotten about this and was accepted on a Foundation course at Wolverhampton Poly, as it was called in those days, and completed a whole year there,” he recalls. The course encompassed everything from photography and composition, to lithography and typography, but it was a week-long educational assignment that triggered his photographic interest: “I decided not to go to France and stay and save my grant for other things, so I was given a photography project to work on. Even though I had shown an interest in photography, I had not really done any proper shoots and so I was completely thrown in at the deep end. It was given as a form of punishment for not wanting to go to France, but it was while working on the project that I did some shots of my girlfriend at the time, and they turned out well. It was the positive feedback from fellow students that really encouraged me to pursue photography.” James’s photographic arsenal began with a Nikon CoolPix three-megapixel camera and a Bronica ETRS. “I remember

my very first shoot with it,” he recalls. “I was with a client and photographing a very simple shot and out popped the camera.

I had been praising the digital revolution and saying how this

new camera would be great for the shoot.” It seems the client, on the other hand, was less than enthusiastic: “They were so surprised when I brought out the camera, thinking it was the light meter or on-camera flash as it was so small! We did the shot, but I nearly lost face at the time. I now embrace the digital revolution because of its liberating feel. Quick to work, quick to get an opinion, cheaper if you process your own images for clients and no time in the darkroom.” His equipment has since advanced to a Hasselblad H4D-40 and a Nikon D3, which he is currently putting to good use on a project for a client in Germany, involving exotic props and a whole host of models, he hints. “I am looking at creating 12 pieces of photo art at 80 x 60 inches for art galleries, and so it will be classed as fine art.” James is happy if this is the start of more commissions abroad: “I would love to work in Los Angeles and of course New York, and possibly even Paris,” he enthuses. “They all have a variation in how they work and whom they work with, so it would be great

to do this in the future.”

8Candy Floss

“It is important to make sure that the model engages with the viewer. I was searching for a more quirky or edgy shot for my agent in London, and this was her choice. While working the shoot it was important that the model’s figure and hands were soft and delicate, and not interfering with the overall shot itself. Sometimes in pictures the hands can look awkward, but Holly is a professional and knows how to use shapes that fit” shot details: Hasselblad H4D-40 with 35-90mm lens at 70mm and f1, 1/250sec, ISO 100

Techniques

Shoot stunning landscapes

JETTY

“One of the first photographs I took after turning pro is a simple composition of a wooden jetty with some wooden posts either side. I took the photograph on a still, misty December morning not far from my home in France, and at once realised that I was getting close to the style of photography that I was looking to produce – simple, uncluttered, peaceful and calm” Shot details: Nikon D2Xs at 28mm and f10, 10sec, ISO 100

© Jonathan Chritchley

Discovertheshapeand form of the land through theblackandwhiteimage

Stunning landscapes

T racing back through the history of photography, even as far back to the origins of its invention, the black and white landscape image has had a powerful and significant presence in the medium. 19th-Century figures such as William Henry Fox

Talbot (the inventor of the negative/positive process) and Roger Fenton (the first war photographer who documented the Crimean war in the 1850s) both depicted the landscape through their own techniques using the black and white process. Later in the early 20th Century, a major figure to emerge into the genre was the great Ansel Adams. Many still today regard his technically faultless photographs as some of the greatest black and white landscape images ever taken. His eye for composition and his knowledge of exposure complemented with his post- production darkroom techniques meant he was able to produce breath-taking images throughout his lifetime. His favourite location was Yosemite Valley in California and it was in was in this spot that he made some of his best images. For any keen black-and-white landscape photographer Ansel Adams is an inspirational figure, and for those wanting to learn about his zone system, this technique will greatly strengthen your practice.

Even if you don’t use this technique in the field, it is a key aspect to be aware of. Although the traditional technique of the negative/positive process will always hold a key relationship with the black and white landscape image moving forward into the 21st Century, digital technology has seen many enthusiasts and professionals dabble in the medium and take on their own interpretations of the genre. Photography has expanded, as more and more high-quality digital cameras become accessible to the masses. Digital equipment is now cheaper, lighter and higher quality than

it has ever been before, meaning many budding photographers

are venturing out into the great outdoors to produce their own stunning landscape images. Landscape photography appears to be one of the most popular genres of photography, as it can be a therapeutic and rewarding experience for many when taking the images, whether professional or not.

One contemporary digital professional photographer from the black and white genre is Keith Cooper. Keith is an architectural, industrial and landscape photographer from Leicester who has

a great passion for the monochrome image. “Black and white

images of a scene seem to encapsulate more personal meaning to me and capture what the surrounding atmosphere feels like at that moment. I have some great colour shots as well, but it’s the black and white ones, more often than not, that resonate.” He continues, “In some ways I also identify with black and white with ‘structure’, as it reflects the underlying scaffolding that makes up the world. Of course that could just be because as an ex-geologist, I view the landscape as a whole, including what’s below the surface.” Keith moved to the digital medium in 2004. He describes the transition from film: “The biggest change in black and white photography was re-learning about exposure. The immediacy of digital means that you really can experiment and quickly learn how different lighting affects your camera metering and your choices in exposure.” And in digital black and white photography, exposure is a key area to understand. The correct exposure value can be difficult to measure due to the dynamic range in the highlights and shadows. Digital photography is less forgiving than film and once a highlight is blown, there is no rescuing it. However, apparatus such as histograms make it much easier in the field to measure the light, and even being able to preview images on the LCD screen is an advantage. Keith uses his own techniques and methods to achieve a correct exposure, as he explains, “It will come as no great surprise that I’ve never been one for methodical approaches such as the zone system for exposure. I’ll try and get the important parts of the image out of deep shadow, but always with an eye as to what might be clipping highlights. I find it important to distinguish between clipped highlights that are okay, such as some reflection on water,

8

Techniques

Viaduct –

John o’ Gaunt, Leicestershire, uK

“Part of a set of prints for

a local country estate, the

disused viaduct is not usually

seen at this angle. Although I could have used camera

movements (lens shift) to give

a ‘correct’ perspective, this

view with a 14mm lens is much

more active with the strong sloping lines” shot details: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III at 14mm and f7.1, 1/160sec, ISO 100

© Keith Cooper

and those where it’s not okay, such as parts of clouds, when cloud structure is going to be an important textural element in the image. Histogram displays are better now, but it’s important to appreciate that they are only a guide and require some

practise to interpret.”

Keith makes a valid point here as the structure of a cloud formation – particularly in a black and white image – can play a crucial part in holding a composition together. In the

monochrome medium, if used in the wrong context, a clear sky will record as a big block of grey, which will appear very dull. Sourcing textures in the land and sky to complement each other will produce effective images and connect the elements. Keith informs us of his next trip to take some dramatic weather images:

“I’m going to the Pacific north-west (Oregon/Washington) in the autumn – an area renowned for rain and changeable weather. For black and white photography, bad weather is much more interesting than clear blue skies.” Another contemporary black and white landscape photographer in the industry is Jonathan Chritchley. Originally from the UK and now living in Biarritz, in the south of France, Jonathan conducts his practice from this idyllic location. He finds it is a great place to be based, as he has easy access to some great and diverse settings locally as well as internationally. Jonathan studied for a year doing an HND in Photography at Poole Art College in the UK, but got bored of the constant studio work which he describes as being: “As exciting as a lettuce!”, so he left to become a photographic assistant to a marine photographer. After several career detours he started his own company in 2006 and has never looked back. Jonathan was inspired to become a photographer after watching the film The Big Blue by French director Luc Besson, as he explains: “He is an exceptional cinematographer and the first ten minutes of the film, shot in black and white in the Greek Islands, was a turning point for me. It is probably the greatest influence on my career to date, and that, along with the nautical photography of Beken of Cowes and others from the Twenties and Thirties, is what has helped define my photography.” Jonathan’s inspirations and concepts further come from a variety of resources that can be seen throughout his work, as he describes: “I think that each location provides its own clues and ideas. I like to think that I can adapt quickly to conditions and locations and come up with unique ways of photographing a place based on my own personal taste. I have a very strong sense

66 The black & whiTe PhoTograPhy book

hunGyao, china

The textures in the sky hold the eye in the centre of the image, focusing on this calm and tranquil river shot in Hungyao, China shot details: Nikon D3X with 24-55mm lens at 24mm and f11, 1/160sec, ISO 400

© Jonathan Chritchley

Stunning landscapes

8

Techniques

Li RiveR,

GuiLin, China

Taken on the Li River in Guilin, China. This idyllic scenery makes for a great black and white landscape shot, with the mist in the background enhancing the atmosphere Shot details: Nikon D3X with 24-55mm lens at 24mm and f13, 1/100sec, ISO 200

© Jonathan Chritchley

8 ShinGLe StReet,

SuffoLk, uk

“Shot on 35mm film, this negative laid unprinted until I moved to a digital workflow. As a six foot-wide print, the grain and overall sharpening needs to be carefully handled” Shot details: Shot on 35mm, details unavailable

© Keith Cooper

of what I like, so although photography is my job I still take photographs to please myself first and foremost.” In landscape photography there are no rigid rules regarding camera settings, and a vast range of approaches that can be taken. Keith uses whatever techniques he finds the most comfortable for that given situation: “I shoot a combination of Manual or Aperture Priority (Av), depending on the lighting conditions and lenses I’m using (always Manual with tilt/shift). Depending on the subject, I’ll either focus manually or with AF. I’ve never followed the hair shirt attitude to photography, that

it’s not ‘authentic’ unless you have full control over the camera.

I respect those who mix their own emulsions and prepare their

own plates, but owning a £4,000 camera body does give some useful shortcuts.” Cameras today are designed to be flexible to work to the needs of the photographer not the other way around,

so use whatever feels best for you.

Unlike Keith, Jonathan takes a different approach to the black- and-white landscape shot and informs us on how he controls the camera for exposing light: “For seascapes, I use long exposures

a great deal. I like the minimalist effect this produces on the

final photograph, the way the light and texture work together. Apart from that most of my work is shot very traditionally – I

Stunning landscapes

EXPERT ADVICE

Jonathan Chritchley on how to take great black-and-white landscapes

How did you get started in photography?

My dad was very interested in photography, so there were always cameras lying around at home. However, it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realised that it was where my destiny lay.

What excites you about black and white landscape photography?

Most of my work is of the sea, the coast and other nautical environments. I am completely obsessed with the water, so I think that is what keeps my enthusiasm fresh. I love the feel and atmosphere of a good black and white photograph, the way the composition is simplified and the subject matter is reduced to elemental shapes and textures.

What have been your favourite landscape locations to photograph?

A location that stands out to me is Iceland. The rugged, varied landscape, incredible light and dreamy skies make it a wonderful place for black and white photography. I spent three weeks there last year, and am heading back again this year to continue the project.

1 Be original

Decide on your own path, one that is close to your heart, and pursue it.

2 Less is more

Simplify your composition.

3 Don’t get caught up in the equipment war

It’s not the camera that takes the picture, it’s the photographer.

4 ND filters

Don’t be tempted to buy cheap!

5 For seascapes use long exposures

This can produce some stunning effects.

“With black and white landscape photography, an uncomplicated technical approach can often produce superior results”

don’t like complicated techniques, either in camera or later on the computer, preferring very simple methods to produce my photographs.” An uncomplicated technical approach can often produce superior results. On a landscape shoot, a variety of accessories and cameras are needed and knowing what equipment to take can be crucial for achieving the correct results. However, it is not as simple as shooting in the studio as everything needs to be carried, so being organised is very important. The pros in the field reveal what they take on a shoot: “If I’m travelling I take two camera bodies (Nikon D3X and D3). I also take my Zeiss 21mm, 28mm and 50mm lenses, Nikon 17-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm zooms. Gitzo tripod – which is pretty heavy duty, with an Arca Swiss ball head – and various filters, cable releases and usual sundries.” Keith shoots with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, and the lenses he takes on a shoot vary depending on how much he feels like carrying and for how far. His basic kit consists of an EF14mm f2.8L II, EF 24-70mm L, EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS, and he mostly uses his 24-70mm or sometimes the 14mm for an ultra-wide angle. Wide-angle lenses are crucial for landscape photography and in low-light scenarios a fast lens can be useful, however a tripod will also come in handy for long exposures.

Techniques

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skogarfoss,

iCeland

The slow shutter speed and rich background settings make the flow of the waterfall stand out beautifully shot details: Nikon D3X with 24-55mm lens at 52mm and f14, 2sec, ISO 100

© Jonathan Chritchley

Stunning landscapes

Landscape photography is obviously dependent on weather conditions as to what type of images can be produced. If it is a sunny day exposure values between the shadows and highlights are also going to measure differently, and there are a few tricks that can be applied to aid the photographer in scenarios such as these. Graduated filters are just one accessory that can help rescue a black and white landscape image and enhance the textures and tones in both the land and sky.

For those who are unfamiliar with ND (neutral density) graduated filters, one half of the filter is darker than the other, which in most cases is completely clear. The reason for using

a neutral density graduated filter is to control the exposure

difference between the sky and the ground. Neutral density grads are given numbers that tell you exactly how many stops of light they’re going to reduce the brightness by, and when used correctly can help you produce far superior results. To determine the strength of filter, you need to meter the scene. The simplest method for doing this is to take a meter reading with the ground filling the frame without the filter in place, and then repeat this step with the sky filling the frame. The difference between these readings will indicate the strength of graduated filter needed. If, for instance, there is a one-stop

difference in the readings, you will need a 0.3 ND graduated filter,

a two-stop difference a 0.6 ND grad, while a three-stop difference

will require a 0.9 ND grad. Usually the two-stop (0.6 ND) is the most commonly used and if you’re on a budget and can only afford one filter, a 0.6 hard grad is recommended. When placing a graduated filter, careful consideration needs to be exercised to ensure results are crisp. It is easiest to use graduated filters on a tripod as this allows you to slide the filter accurately into position, so the transition from clear to dark falls on the horizon. It is especially important to double check horizons are straight, otherwise the results will look odd. If your camera has a depth of field preview facility that stops the lens down while you’re looking through the viewfinder, then it is good practice to use it. The darker viewfinder image will make it easier to see the position of the filter. Keith and Jonathan have contrasting opinions when it comes to using graduated filters, although both are still ‘pure’ in their approach to the black and white landscape image. They both take on the concept that they want to capture what is there rather than trying to manipulate the image into something that is not. Jonathan explains his approach: “The only filters I really use are ND and ND grads, really to control exposure and give me longer shutter speeds when necessary. The only real tip I would give is in the purchase. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap. We spend a lot of money on cameras and lenses, so don’t wave cheap plastic filters in front of them!” Keith goes on to inform us on how he uses filters out in the field: “Only in the rain or particularly dusty conditions to protect

Hood Canal,

WasHington

state, Usa

“My favourite example of a scene where I was driving along, saw the light and mist and thought that there was probably a good print to be made. For a large print, the fine gradations and detail need a very good print set-up” shot details: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with 70-200mm lens at 200mm and f3.5, 1/320sec, ISO 100

© Keith Cooper

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Techniques

BlACk WAVE

Vieux Boucau Les Bains, France. “On the Atlantic coast of southern France the setting sun backlights the waves, producing some beautifully textured shapes and forms. I was drawn to this spot and waited a good 20 minutes or so before getting what I was after. The low light forced me to open up the lens, thereby creating some interesting depth of field effects” Shot details: Nikon D3 with Nikkor 70-200mm lens at 120mm and f4, 1/160sec, ISO 400

© Jonathan Chritchley

EXPERT ADVICE

Keith Cooper tells us about his favourite image

How would you describe what you do?

I’m a professional commercial photographer who has the luxury of including my black and white print work within the context of my business. My landscape work influences my approach to architectural and industrial photography, and vice versa. Photography is what pays the bills, so my choices in what work to do and when are a little more driven by the

requirements of the business.

What has been your favourite black and white landscape photograph created to date, and why?

Much like films, my tastes vary depending on what mood I’m in, however at this moment… The Shingle Street beach. It’s a personal favourite, since it captures what a lot of the Suffolk coast feels like to me. Also from a technical point of view, it was taken on 35mm film (Tri-X) and as a negative was unprinted for several years (apart from a contact sheet). It was only after I scanned the negative and cropped out much of the foreground that it just worked. This also reminds me to go back through the archives every so often and look for things I’ve missed. When revisiting old collections of shots, I always remember that there must have been something there to catch my attention.

“It is important to note that to achieve great black and white images you need to visualise in monochrome”

the lens do I use screw-in filters. I sometimes use a polariser to cut down on glare, but sparingly: if I can spot its use then

I think I have overdone it. One of my pet hates are graduated

filters – I disliked them when there was the big Cokin ‘creative’

filter fad in the late Seventies, and I find I still dislike their use if you can obviously see they’ve been used.” He continues with his opinion: “My personal difficulty is that I see very few images where such obvious filter use contributes much to the final print. It’s all too often applied to an average image to try and make it into something it isn’t. A particularly egregious misuse is where the tops of mountains (or trees) show the darkening effect.” However, Keith does sometimes use multiple RAW conversions to the same image and blends them to extract more detail, although he finds this requires considerable post-processing work to make it look natural, so prefers to stay clear when he can. Other filters available on the market that may help improve black and white images and ones that are considerably cheaper than ND graduated filters are a basic filter set. Red filters will darken the sky, creating a moody atmosphere. Green-coloured filters are particularly useful for landscapes, as they create a contrast between different shades of green and blue. For those wanting to experiment and who are just starting out in this genre,

a set of standard filters can be fun to use before thinking about

investing in a more expensive set. Whether you want to have a purist approach to the black and white landscape image or if you want to use a process such as HDR all comes down to personal taste. HDR photography in the professional and amateur world creates a clear divide, with many embracing the technique and some keeping well clear. Keith points out that while he is not a fan of it, he sometimes uses it in his profession. “It will come as no surprise that I dislike most examples of the currently fashionable ‘HDR look’,” he explains. “However, I do use HDR techniques for my architectural and interior work, but go to great lengths to make it look just as if my camera had more dynamic range. In general, the world around me does not show sharpening halos! Such fashions come and go in photography.” HDR photography can look effective, however it is best not to go too over the top with the results. Although HDR is a new digital technology term, film photographers have been using this effect for years. Ansel Adams is just one of many who exposed the highlights and shadows in the camera and then processed the high contrasts of light and dark in the darkroom using a burning and dodging technique through his zone system. However, the results of Adams’ work look natural, which emphasises the point that HDR photography works at its best in subtle use. Keith finishes discussing HDR photography on a valid point:

“Remember the ‘new toy effect’ every time you discover some new bit of software/lens.” Whenever I get a new accessory, I always get this burst of thinking how great it is and how different

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and ‘interesting’ it makes my pictures.” He continues: “This is perfectly natural, but I prefer to let this enthusiasm work itself out somewhat before trying it out on paying clients. I have lots of shots that on a second look really do not justify my initial enthusiasm. All my best work usually comes after I’ve explored what these things can do, and added them to my arsenal of available skills.” Thinking and visualising in black and white sounds obvious, however this skill can take some time to perfect, and plenty of consideration is needed when approaching a scene. Back before digital camera technology was invented, shooting in black and white was a conscious decision, as the film had to be loaded into the camera. With digital technology you convert results into black and white in post-production, however it is important to note that to achieve great black and white images you need to visualise in monochrome beforehand. Tone, contrast, structure and composition are all key elements to consider when approaching the landscape scene, and learning to visualise the elements as a series of tones instead of colours is what will produce superior images. It should be noted that what is perfect for a coloured photograph can often have a negative impact on a black and white landscape. For example, clear blue skies are a no, and overcast days or bad weather are a yes. When it comes to composition and the landscape image, the rule of thirds generally works as an advantage; elements throughout the image rest easier on the eye, leading the viewer through the scene. Due to the lack of colour, structural components and shadows are key points to be aware of, as these are going to guide the eye through the image. Photoshop skills can be applied afterwards if awkward components are messing up an image, as Keith does in his work: “I don’t have any problem in airbrushing out annoying electricity pylons or people if they mess up my composition, although I won’t change major features such as a sky from another image.” However, Jonathan takes a slightly different approach and offers some alternative advice: “Simplify your composition, hone your camera skills and get as much right ‘in the field’ as you possibly can – don’t rely on computer software to correct faulty images but aim to produce

Stunning landscapes

a reliable collection of images that simply need enhancement. Be self-critical; remember that it is better to have one superb photograph than twelve mediocre examples.” Filters and exposure can greatly enhance detail, however these are not the only things to be aware of. Post-production methods are just as important and even presentational skills should be greatly considered. For many the second and third stages in the photographic process are overlooked, and this is a big mistake for those who want to go professional. Converting the right images to black and white can also be a tricky skill in itself – remember that excellent black and white images do not have to be good colour images. The colour version is just an intermediate stage, so don’t spend too much time tweaking the colour balance. There are other methods to converting images, and every photographer has their own favourites. Keith processes his RAW images through Adobe Camera Raw 6 or DxO Optics pro V6.2, and subsequent work is carried out in Photoshop

OregOn

beach, UK

“My favourite type of ‘active’ weather for black and white. I spent about half an hour at this beach photographing the scene, with the sun lighting different parts” Shot details: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 70-200mm lens at 70mm and f10, 1/800sec, ISO 100

© Keith Cooper

The Ansel Adams Zone System

The Zone System is a black and white exposure technique invented by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in 1939. Originally the method was set in place to be used with the film technique, however it is still a useful practice for learning how to visualise in the monochrome medium. Start with Zone V, as this represents the mid-tone greys in the image, ie the flat greys. You need to think about what area of your image will meter like this,then take a reading.Each zone either side represents one f-stop, so if you want your shadow value to be dark but still hold detail (Zone III), then decrease the exposure by two stops. This technique does take some time to get used to, but it is a good method to follow and means you start measuring shapes and shadows with regards to how they are going to appear in the black and white image.

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Techniques

Burnt tree,

Mesa Verde, Colorado, usa

“At 9,000 feet on a cold snowy day, with big storms shooting about the sky. One of the times when an object (the burnt tree) just fits in with the whole scene” shot details: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III at 16mm and f9, 1/320sec, ISO 100

© Keith Cooper

CS5. Keith explains, “I generally use the RAW converter to get the best colour image for the conversion, rather than apply it there. I do sometimes try out black and white conversion in the RAW converter, just to get a feel for how the image will look, but prefer to leave the actual conversion to later. For conversion from colour to black and white I’ll either use the Nik Silver Efex pro plug-in, a combination of basic Photoshop techniques, such as its greyscale conversion, or a layer-based technique.” Jonathan uses a different approach and browses/imports images using Adobe Lightroom. He then does the final processing in Photoshop CS4, as he states: “My workflow is very simple, enhancing and adding contrast using curves and levels, plus the obligatory five to ten minutes cloning out that impenetrable curse of digital photography, those sensor blobs!”

“Remember that excellent black and white images do not have to be good colour images”

The final stage of the whole process is the printing and presentation. There are many different techniques and methods that can be followed here, and printing in black and white requires some expertise that, for many, is where they fail to get the best results. This is often due to lack of knowledge or equipment and unfortunately with printing, generally the more expensive the printer, inks and paper the higher the results. Papers, inks and images all need to be calibrated to perfection so they are given the best chance to produce high- quality results. For those with no direct access to top equipment, sending prints off to a professional service can ensure higher quality results are produced. However, there are still post-production methods to do beforehand to make sure the image is print ready. Keith offers some sound advice: “Remember the screen is not the print. Unless you are producing work for a website or projection, then what you see on the screen is just an intermediate stage in getting to your print. Attempts to make the print match the screen are inviting disappointment, so it is important to understand how inks behave on paper and how it differs from what you see on screen. Make lots of small test prints if necessary.” Keith further explains what equipment he uses: “Currently I have an Epson 9600 (44” width) and Epson 7880 (24” width) in the print room. The 9600 is used mainly for black and white printing on matt papers via the ImagePrint RIP. The RIP was an important tool in getting excellent black- and-white prints from the 9600 and normal Epson inks in 2004. In the six years since we got it, new printer’s abilities to print good-quality black and white have improved dramatically, such that I would no longer use a RIP like ImagePrint for my black and white work. I’m currently looking at Canon’s latest iPF6300 printer to see how it compares. When a print file is ready for printing, I always save a version (16 bit, with all layers) that includes the size and sharpening status in its name.” As for paper, Keith’s current first two choices for black and white prints are the 285gsm lustre finish Innova ‘Ultra Smooth Gloss’ (IFA49) and the 315gsm matt cotton rag-based Innova Smooth Cotton Natural White (IFA 11). He also prints some matt images on the whiter High white (IFA14) version. Jonathan prints using the Epson 2400, stating that the results he is getting are now equal to anything he used to get in the darkroom. For presentation, Jonathan uses a local framer to build and fit custom frames and mounts for his exhibitions. He is also experimenting with aluminium-based prints, which he finds beautiful and incredibly luminous with the black and white image. In an age where digital technology has pushed photography to a different level, it appears there is still a large appreciation and respect for the traditional black and white landscape image. Whether you are shooting black and white landscape images for yourself or for a profession, this magical medium is certainly a great and romantic genre of photography, and one that will carry on being popular with the masses for years to come. Get back to the land and discover the form, shape and structure through photography.

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Stunning landscapes

Inspiration

hArold Britos

© Harold Britos

“Shot taken in Hagimit Falls, Samal, Davao City. It was a cloudy morning, which is the perfect weather condition for shooting waterfalls. I was on the edge of the rock when I found this spot. The clouds were moving fast and it was a great time to produce a long exposure shot to have dynamics on the image” shot details: Nikon D700 with 17-35mm lens at 17mm and f8, 46sec, ISO 200 DP Gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/harold

©

Peter Ansara

© Paul Forgham

© Ray Foley

rAy Foley

“This shot was taken on Santa Monica Beach, Los Angeles, CA. I took this from the pier overlooking the beach. There was a tribute to the men and women that lost their lives in the war in Iraq. The only adjustment made was a conversion to black and white in the Channel Mixer in Photoshop, and some minor dodge and burn to highlight and darken some areas within the image” shot details: Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro at 22mm and f8, 1/500sec, ISO 160 DP Gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/Shutterlad

Peter AnsArA

“The image was taken in the fall in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The field was in a vegetative state for the winter. The sun was just going down. Obviously the trees all line up nicely to contrast with the wonderful harvested field. This image makes me reflect on the beauty our country has to offer, and the necessity of farmers to supply bounty to people all over the world” shot details: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm lens at 18mm and f22, 1/250sec DP Gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/pete

PAul ForghAm

“This lone tree makes for a great subject, standing defiantly in a harsh landscape among the limestone pavements, completely exposed to the elements but surviving all that nature has thrown at it down the years. I think the shot lends itself well to the black and white treatment, as it helps to convey the bleakness of the location and accentuates the abundance of tones and textures in the scene” shot details: Canon EOS 40D with 10-22mm lens at 11mm and f13, 0.5sec, ISO 100 DP Gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/Forge

Techniques

Shooting the streets in B&W

We speak to street photographers to find out what it takes to capture life on the streets in monochrome

Shooting the streets in B&W

Comforting Hand

The comforting hand of Jo Jowett of Love Light Romania reaches out to ‘C’ who is being cared for by the charity as he faces the final stages of AIDS Shot details: Canon EOS 5D with 50mm at 50mm and f1.6, 1/40sec, ISO 1000

© Richard Feaver

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Techniques

© Ying Tang

“When a photograph works, it transcends reality and becomes something very special”

untitled

Shanghai, 2007 Shot details: Nikon D100 with lens at 18mm and f3.5, 1/500sec, ISO 200

‘S treet photography is a heartbreak.’ So says Richard Bram (http://richardbram.com), a US-based photographer whose images of city life in London,

New York and the spaces between, reveal a capricious distillation of the world in which we exist, from a perspective we never care to notice. A heartbreak, Bram says, because of the dire hit-to-miss ratio and emotional rollercoaster of hopeful shots and subsequent disappointments. Any serious street photographer will tell you the same and yet everyday across the world cameras are readied and eager

photographers steadied, hidden in plain sight among the unaware crowds. For Richard the dividends outweigh the disappointment. “When a photograph works, it transcends reality and becomes something very special. It is the hunt for that special photograph, so rare yet so rewarding, that continues to draw me.” Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Ying Tang (www.yingphotography.com) shares some hunting grounds with Bram having studied at the New York Institute of Photography. But it was on the streets

of San Francisco, while at the School of Photography of C.C.S.F, where she really mastered her skills: “I think the first

important thing to be a street photographer

is to realise that there will be a lot time and

effort, and also a lot patience, involved, so

the more time you spent on shooting, the better result you can achieve.”

At the heart of the genre lies a desire to candidly and honestly depict the everyday happenings in public spaces. While many images can be merely a record of

a moment as it happens, the best street

images go beyond a simple imprint into cleverly captured, sharply recorded and cunningly composed shots, which not only hold a mirror up to us but are laden with implied meaning. ‘Professional stranger’ is the term used by Max Kozloff to describe street photographers. Richard Bram identifies with this in his pursuit to capture the essence of the places where we live. “Cities are stressful: the pressures of work, social interaction, constant noise, dirt and lack of private space all add to the tension. Yet people manage to live, love, take pleasure in life in the midst of it all.”

Also in the business of reflecting reality, is documentary photographer Richard Feaver (www.rjamesfeaver.com). Richard has worked as a photographer in various

capacities. Over the last four years he has turned his attention to Romania. Inspired by the work of legendary war photographer James Nachtwey in the country, Feaver has been highlighting the issues faced by many in the region. Feaver drew early inspiration from photographers in the Sixties and Seventies, one such figure being Larry

Burrows. “After seeing one of his essays from Vietnam, One Ride With Yankee Papa 13, I was stunned by how powerful the images were and the effect they could have,” he says. In comparison to the self- reflection that street images can invoke in us, Feaver is interested in the reaction it can spark, especially when dealing with images that challenge what we know about a subject. His current work with Romanian charity, Love Light Romania, offers such stark reactions, as he deals with a variety of subjects and issues from communities struck by poverty to individuals living with AIDS. A different type of heartbreak altogether.

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© Richard Bram

Shooting the streets in B&W

© Richard Bram

Second Storey Man

London, 2004. “I was walking back to Farringdon Station having picked up some film at Metro Imaging and cut through a back courtyard. As I looked up in the twilight I noticed a movement and saw this man on a ledge. Exactly what he was doing and why I shall never know, and that question is what makes the photograph interesting”

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Foggy night

Perugia, 2008. Sometimes it is simply an emotional response to a sublime sight, like Christmas lights in Perugia on a cold foggy night. The world can be a beautiful place, and while we tend to concentrate on more edgy moments these days, it’s still okay to make beautiful photographs sometimes. Shot details: Rolleiflex at f4, 1/15sec, TMax 400

Techniques

FIVE TOP TIPS

Richard Bram tells us what makes a good street photographer

Web: www.in-public.com/RichardBram

“I call myself a street photographer, though once upon a time one would have simply said ‘I am a photographer’ and that is what it would have meant.”

Born in Philadelphia in 1952, Richard Bram grew up across Ohio, Utah and Arizona. After earning degrees in Political Science and International Business, he ‘lost his head’ and pursued photography as a full-time vocation over the series of uninspiring jobs that had come his way. Richard has lived and worked between London and New York, and now resides in the latter. Richard’s street images reflect an intelligently quirky and contagious approach to the world. “Most of my photographs originate in the random chaos of the public space of the street, in the ambient weirdness of everyday life,” he says.“They are not staged; reality is plenty strange enough.” His work is in institutional, corporate and personal collections, including the Museum of London, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography.

1 Be bold

Most of the very best photographers working on the street are not using telephoto lenses, but standard and wide-angle and working close to their subjects. Working in the public arena you are visible to everyone. Sneaking around furtively trying not to be seen usually guarantees the opposite. If you just stand there openly watching and taking photographs, you will be noticed for a while, however we aren’t really as interesting to others as we think: if you just hang around becoming part of the street furniture, people will get bored with you and go on about their business.

2 Know your camera

The technical workings of your gear must be in your fingers rather than your head so that when you see something about to happen you can take the photo fast! The difference between a great photograph and a miss is a tiny fraction of a second when a glance, a gesture, a juxtaposition happened. If you have to think about settings, shutter-lag, zooming for perfect framing, anything that gets between you and what you see, you will miss the shot. Chance favours the prepared mind: if your camera is already set for the light, you’re roughly in focus, very alert and paying attention, you improve the odds immeasurably.

3 Originality please

The ability to edit is one of the hardest and most important things for any reality-based photographer to learn. To know what is indeed unusual and special, what isn’t something taken a thousand times before, only comes with study and appreciation of other photographers’ work. There is a reason that things are called clichés – they are overdone: close-up portraits with telephoto lenses, people just sitting in cafés, homeless people, and way too many people’s backs. Philadelphia-based photographer and wit Kyle Cassidy posited a rule: “Thou shalt not photograph people from behind and call it street photography. This maketh thee a coward.”

4 Man up to criticism

Most so-called ‘street photographs’ that I see posted on Facebook, Flickr, Google+ and many other places are pictures I have seen time and time again. Far too many people are easily pleased and pay too much attention to the ‘attaboy’ comments: “Cool shot, dude. Great capture.”This is mostly useless and teaches you nothing. More useful is the careful negative critique – harder to swallow but more to learn from.

5 More than nice

Think of the usual images – cute kids just smiling at the camera, a pretty girl looking right into your lens from 30 feet away; the list goes on. These may be nice pictures, but nice is not enough. A sharp, technically good photograph is taken in the street; this does not make it a street photograph. Ansel Adams, a man decidedly not a street photographer, said it this way: “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.”

© Richard Bram

Both documentary and street photography come with their own set of challenges. One such challenge is a matter of subject. While a documentary photographer is usually focused on one social area, aiming to capture as much of the reality of it as possible, for a street photographer even the smallest movement on a city side walk could be a possible subject. One element that calls to Ying Tang is movement. “My eyes get drawn to certain moment like jumping, blowing, laughing, running,” she says. “The human movement sometimes can add a dynamic to an image and make it alive. I think after many years shooting on the street, I’ve developed my own sense of searching; searching for a scene of carefree, emotional and human connection. That is what draws me to see how people interact with others or themselves in a big urban surrounding.” Bram says for him it’s harder to know. “I think I am looking for what has been called ‘the unusual in the everyday’,” he speculates. “Something in a perfectly ordinary scene that is somehow out of place, or simply a moment that will not be repeated. Sometimes it was the intensity of the couple as they are about to kiss (Mainz 1996, see page 82), a certain tilt of the head, closed eyes, the anticipation of what is just about to occur. Other times

it can be chance combined with a certain

preparedness. Sometimes it is simply an emotional response to a sublime sight, like Christmas lights in Perugia on a cold foggy night. Other times they may be less action- dependant, more mood or light-based. It is okay to make beautiful photographs, too:

the world can be a beautiful place, and while we tend to concentrate on more edgy moments these days, it’s still okay to make beautiful photographs sometimes.” Richard Feaver’s choice of subject grew organically from the path his photography

took. “My photography started like most others, messing around with a film camera,

a Canon A-1,” he says. “However, I focused

more on just wandering around and shooting with a trial-and-error approach. When I would go home and make my negatives and prints, I would try and see where I was going wrong and correct these next time around. I started photographing music and picked up a Nikon D70.” During his time photographing music, Feaver found himself drawn towards the smaller bands that needed help promoting their music rather than bigger bands with huge press pits and plenty of hype. He also found himself enjoying capturing moments on the road or backstage where

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SOhO CaFE

“I was on my way to meet my wife at a Soho restaurant on a bitter cold, freezing and rainy January night and went by a cafe window. I was late and wet, but had my camera. I stopped briefly and made two frames” Shot details: Leica M6 with 35mm lens, TMax 400

Wall Street Fall

“On my way home from the post office one summer morning, I was waiting out a sudden shower under a building overhang. Passing the time, I began photographing pedestrians coming through the intersection, the reflections and patterns they made in the rainwater. A man slipped and fell and his umbrella went flying. The camera was at my eye and it seemed as if it went off by itself” Shot details: Leica M6 with 35mm lens, TMax 400

© Richard Bram

Shooting the streets in B&W

The black & whiTe PhoTograPhy book 81

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Techniques

© Richard Feaver

Bathed

By water

He spent the first 16 years of his life living in a hospital; at some point during this period he was infected with HIV. He

is now under the care of Love

Light Romania and enjoys a safe, healthy and happy life the Sanctuary

Shot details: Canon EOS 5D with 24-70mm lens at 70mm with f5.6, 1/200, ISO 400

© Richard Bram

8 Mainz,

GerMany 1996

The out-of-focus little girl in the background was wearing

a bright fluorescent patterned

jacket. If this were shot in colour, the jacket would have constantly pulled your eye away from the focus of the photo, the couple lost in their moment Shot details: Leica M3 with 35mm lens, TMax 400

© Richard Bram

people were in a natural setting. This was during the same period as his work with a local paper which turned out to be a push in the right direction: “The stories I had to cover had such little life or substance in them that it only drove me on to pursue photographing real issues on my own.” From there he decided to shoot documentary: “I was wary of going into press photography because I felt I would not have enough time if on assignment and working to a deadline to accurately photograph someone’s life. I decided instead that if I worked with charities not only would they benefit from the pictures, but I would be able to spend longer amounts of time with the people I was photographing. It was after I began working with smaller charities that I realised just how difficult it was for them to raise awareness of their work and that is now something I am very passionate about working towards changing.” Since being inspired by Nachtwey, Feaver has been to Romania for four to five month periods over the last four years. The original idea was to photograph the difference in Romania as they were joining the European Union, but this focus soon broadened when Feaver found Love Light Romania. “It was very clear to me from when I first worked with Love Light Romania how passionate they were about their work and the people they cared for. They had made such dramatic differences to so many children’s lives through sheer hard work with budgets that were tiny in comparison larger charities,” he says.

Shooting the streets in B&W

“Their philosophy was similar to mine in terms of my photography. They would not simply turn up in a poor community and give out bags of clothes then move into the next. They were looking at long- term solutions for the children in getting them back into schools and educating the parents. This approach allowed me to really get to understand the people I was photographing and give an accurate picture of their lives and needs.” Feaver believes Romania has serious issues which are hidden away and only uncovered through foundations such as those he works with. Feaver works close to his subjects, getting to know each of them individually and forming a relationship with them before shooting any images. In contrast, for Richard Bram one of the challenges of street photography is taking photos of people without prior connection. Street photographers do have the advantage that subjects are often unaware of their presence, yet for Feaver the trick is to make those aware of him still go about their daily business as if he weren’t there. “I would never take a photograph of anyone who I hadn’t asked permission from beforehand,” Feaver says. “I can understand why street photographers do this to try and capture a moment, however the majority of the people I photograph have delicate situations. Yet I would never ask people to sit a certain way either. I try and build up a relationship with everyone I photograph so that they are aware of me being there but are comfortable enough to just be as natural as they can be.”

Erica

The light and shadow on the faces of the subjects add a dramatic dimension to the worried expressions they wear. The image shows a Romanian woman, Erica, who lived on a rubbish dump with her three children after her mother died of AIDS Shot details: Canon EOS 5D with 24-70mm lens at 35mm with f2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 1600

© Richard Feaver

Street photography and the law

If the public arena is your photographic playground, then knowing the rules is essential. The laws governing photography on the street are fairly simple but important to take note of.‘Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places, and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel’, the Met Office states on its website. While police do have the right to stop and search a person who they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, they do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film during a search. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which previously gave officers power to stop and search, no longer exists. Learn the laws and be confident in your rights as a photographer; carrying a copy of the laws pertaining to photography in your camera bag is a good way to conduct an informed conversation with any person that questions your presence.The‘I’m a Photographer not aTerrorist’campaign (www. photographernotaterrorist.org) went a long way to educate photographers about their rights. For a full overview of the laws visit www.met.police.uk/ about/photography.htm.The London Street Photography Festival made a video entitled Stand Your Ground to give photographers another perspective of the issue. Watch it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJH9F7Hcluo.

8

Techniques

Smiling

Through

The image captures children living in poverty in Jacodu. Despite their dire circumstance, the children are full of life and brightness. Five smiling faces are huddled together with the background out of focus, highlighting the sincerity in their smiles Shot details: Canon EOS 5D with 24-70mm lens at 24mm with f4, 1/100sec, ISO 320

8

STreeT

performer

Although subtlety is often rewarded in street photography, the more obvious subject choices can still work well. Be on the lookout for reactions of passers-by in the background. Or, in this case, the gentleman in the foreground.

8

© Richard Feaver

Ying and Bram rarely have the opportunity to make eye contact with a subject and never mind build a relationship with them. With the ‘observer effect’ in mind, some of the best street images are captured with those in the frame blissfully unaware. While this may present a challenge technically, it also presents an issue of privacy that is unavoidable in the genre. Most public laws go a long way to clear up what is allowed (see boxout on page 53), but the rest is down to the photographer. Bram recommends that the wishes of the public, if expressed, be respected. “Most of the time people aren’t aware that I’ve taken their picture at all. I often work in big crowded places where no one notices another camera,” he says. “Once in a while someone notices me and says, ‘Don’t take my picture!’ I don’t take his picture. Taking this as a challenge and then trying to do so only makes people angry. There are other pictures elsewhere.” Ying says that familiarising yourself with your surroundings and being comfortable as you work goes a long way to bring a smile to the face of your subject if they notice you. “That gives you confidence,”

Shooting the streets in B&W

she says and adds that it may make you less annoying to your subjects. Bram says that anyone who works seriously in the street will have a story of a confrontation. To his mind, a smile and humble attitude goes a long way. “You must be able to deal with and talk to people without being belligerent, even if they are. If you look sheepish, furtive or try to run off, all you do is convince them that you are indeed up to something,” he adds. All three photographers excel in black and white, but with varying and intriguing perspectives of why this suits their style and images. A mental flick through some of the most memorable street and documentary images will often reveal a favouring of black and white over colour – think Cartier-Bresson and Eddie Adams for example. A lack of alternative in older images is an obvious retort but modern photographers continue to follow in the same monochromatic vein – and for a reason. For Richard Bram it’s the difference between drawing and painting. “In monochrome you concentrate on the graphic elements, the lights and darks, and especially the action and expressions.” He gives a quote whose source has been forgotten: “In black and white you look at the faces; in colour you look at the clothes.” Well known for his black-and-white images in particular, Bram has only recently begun to shoot in colour too. “Colour introduces so many more variables to deal with: the rainbow itself,” he says. “Controlling this and making it work within the frame is different, harder. You must handle the way the colours move across the frame – do they dance or do they just clomp around?”

When Ying Tang first started shooting street photography she began to do so in black and white: “It teaches a certain way to see how light can affect the world and the emotion. Since then I have never tried to change my approach and continued work with black-and-white images.” Tang’s images in Shanghai reveal an emotional undercurrent which is enhanced by the choice of mode. “I will say the approach of using black and white in my Shanghai images do transfer certain contrast and uncertainty in my images, which helps me reveal the current reality in China. I think black-and-white images reveal more emotions and sometimes increase the imaginations of people, making them timeless.” Feaver’s subject matter means that black and white is often the only choice. He often photographs in small, cramped poverty- stricken conditions with minimal light available, and he feels that the stark nature of black and white is appropriate. “I feel it accurately reflects these environments and captures the ‘hidden away’ existence these people live in,” he says. “There are photographs that work better in one than the other,” says Bram whose new colourful work reveals the distinction he makes for which mode works best in which situation. “Colour itself can be a major part of the composition,” he says. “In other instances there are photographs where colour would have been a distraction.” Changing his mind, though, is not a habit of Bram’s. Should he shoot an image in colour that’s the way it will stay. To remove the coloured pixels with postproduction software would be defeating the point.

© Richard Feaver

Community

Child

A child sits on the ground

near two house structures

in

a poor family’s community

in

Romania. Poverty is

implied both by the child’s dress and state, and the unkempt surroundings included in the frame

Shot details: Canon EOS 5D with 24-70mm lens at 34mm and f2.8, 1/5,000sec, ISO 1000

8

Techniques

© Richard Feaver

OxfOrd

Street GOGGleS

“I was shooting pedestrians in the late-afternoon sun as the light reflected from windows above, creating spotlights on the street. A man went by with his son on his shoulders and as I raised my camera the boy put his fingers up to his eyes as if making sunglasses. One cannot plan this, ask permission, or stage it. It is totally spontaneous – one must be ready and fast” Shot details: Leica M6 with 35mm lens, TMax 3200

When shooting in black and white, it’s the Leica M6 loaded with TMax 400 that you’ll find in Bram’s hands. If it’s colour he’s after that will be replaced by the M9 with either a 35mm f2 lens or a 24mm f2.8 on it. “I got my first beat-up, brassy but working M3 – all manual, no meter, no electronics – back in 1987 and it just fit,” he says. “They are not for everyone, and now even used ones are very pricey. But they are quiet, unobtrusive and, when you

get used to them, very fast to use. However, you have to know what you are doing.” Other than that, the equipment list

is limited to spare rolls of film and a

handheld light meter. “Anything else is superfluous to the way I work,” Bram says. “Quite a lot people ask me what camera

a street photographer should have,” says Ying. “I always suggest a basic DSLR camera, with a basic focal lens. The lens

I have is a standard one which I have had

for more than six years (Nikon 18-70mm, f4.5). I think every camera or lens has its advantages and disadvantages, so when

you realise what they are and [how the way you shoot fits with these] you can [work fast in the best way possible].” For Richard Feaver it’s the an old Canon EOS 5D that does the brunt of his photography, mostly with a Canon f2.8 24- 70mm lens or alternately a fixed f1.4 50mm lens. Admittedly not a technically fixated photographer, Feaver recommends lenses

that are good in low light, a constant battle he faces. “If you have good glass that can help you get the shot you need it’s worth investing in,” he says. Bram’s recommendation on the kit front is a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes and, fundamentally, a camera. “Any camera, whatever type or format, a camera phone, whatever, but something that can record an image with you all the time! You can never know when something wonderful, quirky, peculiar, is going to happen, except to know that it will always happen when you don’t have a camera,”

he says. Camera phones are making it easier for people to capture the everyday and be ready when the unexpected moments happen. Along with the increase

in available technology has come a regenerated interest in the genre. While this increases the volume of

images produced, Bram does not believe this necessarily increases the number of images that can be called ‘good street images’. He has previously said there is a difference in those that ‘can do’ and those that can’t. “Working in the street is challenging. Having the result be interesting, even intriguing, with an implied meaning beyond the obvious action in the frame, is incredibly difficult.” Bram believes there is more to a great images than a technically passable street scene, and he takes the stance that a bar

raised high for what is considered great will work to push photographers further rather than lulling them into a unhelpful state where an online thumbs up translates into an acceptable accolade. As genres, both black-and-white street and documentary photography continue to push against their own limitations – both technical and social. New talent, new technology and new interest look set to add to their importance, as professionals in the field persevere daily to capture candidly, holding a mirror up to us, challenging and inspiring us to see life differently or take action to help the lives of those that we don’t see too often. Richard Feaver finds his documentary work gets extremely personal. “Photographing anybody who is suffering is always disturbing, but I will only photograph if there is some way the picture I am making will help make a difference to their life. I spend many weeks with the people I photograph, some I have known for years, and I think it’s very important to have that relationship where you are not just some guy who turns up with a camera for a few hours to shoot and then leaves,” he says. For Bram, his photography is more of an internal effort than a public display. “These images are my visual diary,” he states. “They are not staged or created artificially. Reality is strange enough.”

Shooting the streets in B&W

Inspiration

Matthew Ben RichaRdson

Expressive Engagement

The image was taken at a local music festival and there were many fantastic characters to photograph. The man stares expressively past the lens, his deep burrowed forehead in contrast with his bright youthful eyes shot details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 85mm lens at 85mm and f1.4, 1/1,000sec, ISO 100 dP gallery: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ Bennybo

ian

PettigRew

© Ian Pettigrew

Smoker Elderly smoker stares ahead. This shot was taken outside of Woodbine Racetrack and Casino, Toronto, ON, Canada.”I see this same old lady every time I am there,” says Ian shot details: Nikon D7000 with 85mm lens at f2.2, 1/1,250sec, ISO 100 dP gallery: www. dphotographer.co.uk/user/ ianpett

BRian dicks

© Brian Dicks

St Pancreas No 2 The lines of the escalators lead the eye up into the vast space of St Pancreas station, bustling as a young contemplative woman reaches the top of the steps. shot details: Canon EOS 7D with 8-16mm lens at 8mm and f7.1, 1/80sec, ISO 1600 dP gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/BrianDicks

© Matthew Ben Richardson

“There were many fantastic characters to photograph”

© Mervyn Dublin

MeRvyn duBlin

Dam Square This image was captured in Amsterdam. Punters sit among pigeons as a worker and a traveller cross painted city scenes of years gone by shot details: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with 16-35mm lens at f3.2, 1/500sec, ISO 100 dP gallery: www.dphotographer.co.uk/user/mervyndublinphotography

© Carol Allen Storey

Techniques

Documenting life in black and white

“You come back to a still image like a good piece of music; it’s a powerful instrument to provoke debate”

TEMEKE,

TANZANIA

Amina had been forced to wear a red badge sewn on her school uniform veil since she started school age 5 identifying her as AIDS/HIV positive. Amina is excluded from participating in playtimes due to her HIV positive status

“I t’s almost like someone who’s naked and needs to cover things up,” says photographer Carol Allen Storey about the black-and-white medium she uses so frequently. “It

strips away the peripheral components

and forces you to focus on what the story

is about.” For Carol, a photojournalist, the

story and the subject are everything. Her work looks past smashed windows and riots, zooming in on those suffering quietly in developing worlds. “It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless,” she explains. “In particular, dealing with humanitarian issues among women and children; I wanted to tell untold stories. We live in

a celebrity led culture with the Hello/ Goodbye magazines and I thought that

if I can create a provocative story so that

someone has to think about what they’re seeing, which may not be a popular subject, then maybe I could trigger some change.”

Carol began this commendable vocation almost 15 years ago after a colossal career swerve from her role as executive vice president of world wide marketing for Chanel. “It was a very different industry, but I decided I had to get back to my roots,” she says, agreeing that there was

an inevitable edge of uncertainty, but the determination to pursue this path was something that had played on her mind for years. Having been a self-confessed ‘photo news junkie’ since she was a child, getting excited when she unwrapped National Geographic magazine on her birthday, Carol knows the power an image can have over a person. “If you

think of the iconic images that you’re aware of, you may not know the name of

the photographer but you know it made some change,” she reasons. “For example, in the Vietnam war there was a fantastic image by a photographer called Nick

Ut. It was the picture of a naked young girl running away from being burnt by napalm. Everyone knows that picture and that really changed the mood and acted as a catalyst for positive action in the States. You come back to a still image like a good piece of music, a symphony; you can hear it many times and it’s interpreted in many ways and you contemplate it. It is a very powerful instrument to provoke debate, to have people think about things, both the bad and the ugly depending on what you want to do, but particularly in photojournalism, I think.” Carol’s workload is a mixture of assignments from charitable organisations and self-funded personal projects, which she often finds by flicking through a newspaper or magazine and immersing herself in the necessary research. Her current project is fondly titled ANGELS At The Edge Of Darkness and focuses on the

© Carol Allen Storey

Documenting life in black and white

MAJIMATITU PRIMARY SCHOOL, TANZANIA

These girls had some knowledge of the HIV virus which is limited because their families refuse to talk to them about it . Although both are HIV+, they have no idea why they wear the red badge. One of the girls said simply:

“AIDS is death, nothing more. Everyone knows that AIDS kills”

© Carol Allen Storey

8

Techniques

Kisiumi,

Tanzania

Fatuma is in mourning. Her mother died recently and her father a few years ago, both parents succumbing to the AIDS virus. She too has tested positive but has not been told, a common occurrence among children where AIDS is spoken [about] in whispers

8 Kongowe,

Tanzania

Mwita has suffered from the AIDS virus for more than four years. After their father abandoned the family when Mwita became seriously ill, his mother decided to move close to the capital so that he could receive treatment. He has physically recovered but bitter that he was ill for most of his youth with no medical support

poverty-stricken women and children of Africa, people that you can see on these very pages. “These are women of genocide in Rwanda, women that were raped and mauled during the ’94 war, and now in 2011 are suffering from AIDS or extreme poverty,” says Carol. “Many are homeless and are forgotten because the NGOs and disaster relief agencies have moved on to the next disaster and there’s nothing sustainable established.” Living in basic lodgings where the water ration is provided in two buckets – one hot, one cold – and on the menu is anorexic chicken, Carol travels light. Slinging 20 kilos on her back and hopping on a motorcycle to get to her next rural location, she packs the essentials and forgoes assistants for a solitary ‘fixer’. This person will be a local who can act as a translator and trustee of the people; there is nothing more important to

Carol that her photographs show dignity. “When photographing a sensitive subject or people that are in pain, you have to be very aware of their integrity. I never make a picture, never, without it being a collaboration with the sitter,” she explains. “I don’t mean that I’m ‘setting up my images’ because my style is totally reportage and that’s what I rely on. So, if there’s a greasy spoon lying on the floor or a finger that nipped into the end of my frame, it’s because that’s how I’m shooting it. I’m not controlling what’s happening, I’m allowing events to occur.” Her most recent trip saw her journey to Uganda to photograph what she calls ‘reluctant sex workers’. “There were women living in a very remote fishing village on the Congolese border where 70% of the them, including grandmothers, are sex workers,” Carol says. “One woman

said to me ‘Satisfy a man, you satisfy your hunger’. It’s as simple as that. They have such humility and generosity of spirit, and they know me because this is my fourth trip in the last three years so they trust me to make pictures. I’m not going to do anything that will embarrass them or create pain; they have enough to deal with.” She considers it her duty as a photojournalist to tell the truth, tell the story and not to play to an audience. Therefore, Photoshop is out of the question. “One time one of my assistants said ‘Carol, maybe…?’ and I said ‘Not on your life. Do not touch it’,” she recalls. “For me, what you do in Photoshop is what you would do in a darkroom; you can make things a bit darker and moodier but if you’re not shooting it right, what’s the point? There has to be something left in the world that you can trust.”

“When photographing a sensitive subject or people in pain, you have to be very aware of their integrity”

© Carol Allen Storey

Documenting life in black and white

Shooting mostly on a Mimiya 7, a basic film camera that’s void of the advanced features found on digital cameras, the reportage process is inevitably slowed down. This is something that Carol prefers, however, as it grants the time to think. “It’s good to work in different disciplines,” she says. “I did a very interesting thing with my reluctant sex workers essay. At the end of each photo session I decided to use

the iPhone and I’m very excited by what

I was able to produce and the quality.” It

is hoped that these will be shown in an exhibition and it serves as an apt reminder that photojournalism is so accessible to the

public in this digital age that any member of the public with a camera phone can document important events as they occur. Keeping up to speed on all the latest developments in photography, Carol also shoots video interviews on a Canon 5D Mark II, which she describes as “very forgiving”, and always brings

a pocketable Canon G10 along “just in

case”. Rummaging through her kit bag you’ll also find four prime lenses: a 35mm, 50mm, 24mm and an 85mm, and the

“There are a lot of extremely painful images that can be considered fine art because they are sensitively done”

GETTING TO KNOW…

Carol Allen Storey

Web: www.castorey.com Specialist genre:

Photojournalism Why photojournalism? I knew from the beginning when I embarked on my photographic career that I wanted to photograph people and create documentary essays on serious social and political situations, with an emphasis on humanitarian issues, especially among women, children and the disenfranchised. In the kit bag: Mimiya 7, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon G10, prime lenses (35mm,50mm,24mm,85mm),light meter,tripod.

Current project: ANGELS At The Edge Of Darkness

is my current personal project. It focuses on the women

and children managing the AIDS pandemic in Africa, illustrating their courage and dignity and the horrific impact of unabated poverty as this unrelenting killer grows exponentially. Top tip: The most important thing when photographing

a sensitive subject or people that are in pain is to be

very aware of their integrity. We don’t have that right to exploit people for our own gain for rewards as a photographer.

It’s up to us to tell the truth and not to manipulate it in any manner or form. Why black and white? It’s quieter for me,it’s more contemplative; colour is too frenetic for certain subjects.

© Carol Allen Storey

© Carol Allen Storey

© Carol Allen Storey

Techniques

 

RANGI TATU

PRIMARY SCHOOL, TANZANIA

Iklami huddled under the shade of a tree with another of his classmates who also wears the red badge. He broke into tears because his mother had died a day earlier and his father had also passed away earlier in the year. He said he was afraid he would be alone because his grandmother was old and she too would die

MAJI MATATU,

TANZANIA

Joseph and Richard are twins born with acute disabilities related to the AIDS virus carried by their mother during pregnancy. The family live in severe poverty sharing a cell- size room. Their mother sleeps on the floor and the twins, with their older brother, share the only bed

KIPATI TOWN,