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around london in B&W

November 5, 2010

shot with Ilford HP5+.
. . . . . . .

can i tell you what i learned from the photos above? i learned that many of the mundane subjects that i shoot in color will be very boring in black & white. this is a good thing to learn (and part of my process this month, so bear with me). i don’t see things in black & white, i see them in color. so i wanted to walk around london and shoot photos as i normally do, see the results, and make adjustments from there. slowly, i hope to get a sense of what photos look better in black & white.

if you are in NYC this weekend, you should head to the NY art book fair and be sure to stop by the lines & shapes table. keep an eye out for one of my photos on the wall, too. i wish i could be there, it was really fun last year.

i am eager for this week to end (as the english would say, it was rubbish) … thankfully, i am heading out of town this weekend for a welcome change of scene … cheers to a good one, dudes.

21 Comments
  1. November 5, 2010 8:26 am

    I have to say, much as I love any of your photos and black and white work, I really miss the colours.Your ability to see them in all situations is a gift, so don’t give those lovely greens and reds and blues up entirely. That’s just my HO…

  2. daniellegardner permalink
    November 5, 2010 8:39 am

    I also love your color photos, as well as the black & whites. And I have to admit I wasn’t too quick to believe your argument on concentration on the mid-tones of black&white, but these are lovely. In my experience I’ve found black & white always makes anything more beautiful..at least 99% of the time.

  3. November 5, 2010 8:42 am

    i do know what you mean about the subjects you shoot in b + w vs. color. but these are still all very interesting.
    that one of the table and chairs is one of my favorites in a while. so much texture there, even without the color.
    enjoy your weekend, brian!

  4. November 5, 2010 8:51 am

    Yes, definitely — things can look more mundane in b&w (although your images above are not!). I find that things tend to look more interesting in b&w when there’s some strong element: contrast, lines, structure, etc. I think it’s also great at simplifying a busy scene, like a group shot, or giving poignancy to portraits. Especially candids.

  5. November 5, 2010 9:05 am

    i’ve been thinking of doing the same thing, but haven’t yet and seeing your photos i learned a lot too, thank you brian! i love the one with the table and vase. happy friday!

  6. November 5, 2010 9:44 am

    I don’t know, Brian. These images are pretty darn compelling. I love the spots you find with odd/interesting text…you must always have your eyes peeled. I so wish I was in NY this weekend to head to the Book Fair. A bit fan of Lines and Shapes. Happy weekend. You’re inspiring me to play with B & W more often!

  7. November 5, 2010 10:10 am

    …but the rope texture looks rather lovely in b&w, doesn’t it? I’ve had a crap week, too, and am sure to have a crap weekend as thesis defense is in less than 2 weeks (!!!!!!). hope you have a wonderful, restorative weekend.

  8. November 5, 2010 10:41 am

    I love the window shot at the beginning and the rope one. It always takes me a bit to get into the mindset of using B&W film. I remind myself over and over that B&W is all about the light and tones. I usually like to start with texture and simple shapes. Portraits are almost always wonderful in B&W too. Enjoy your shift in perspective… that is what I love that B&W film. It forces me to think differently about how I see the world.

  9. November 5, 2010 11:45 am

    I, too, love the window shot up top. Actually, I think there’s something lovely about these shots all grouped together, Brian. I see what you mean about some of them maybe not standing alone, interestingness-wise, but when they’re together, the grays are really beautiful, and my eye starts to adjust and see things in those mid-tones that I might not see in individual photos. Does that make sense?

    P.S. I shot a restaurant last night for an article, and there were so many wonderful details back in the kitchen! You would have loved it.

  10. Jean Prescott permalink
    November 5, 2010 4:35 pm

    I love these photos. I love the mid-tones, the shades of gray. I’ve never liked high-contrast B&Ws. I do think, though, that your point is well taken re: color alone making boring photos less boring; however, I hardly find these photos boring and, in fact, notice far more detail in B&W. *holding two thumbs up*

  11. November 5, 2010 10:14 pm

    Thats true shooting in black and white really changes the whole perspective on photography..I found that shooting in B&W is really amazing during the winter since the whole landscape is less colorful, you should try I bet you would get nice results ^^

  12. November 6, 2010 2:46 am

    B&W is so hard!! that’s why I steer clear :) I personally think it’s best suited for portraiture or subjects with more texture (like the rope picture here – lovely!). hope you have a great weekend away!

  13. Janice permalink
    November 6, 2010 5:33 am

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog and your pictures. Also, I’ve always found this set of B&W pictures to be especially stunning, http://fromme-toyou.tumblr.com/post/1249309656/new-york-by-land-camera

    Have a good weekend :)

  14. November 6, 2010 9:02 am

    i was immediately interested in each photo. i don’t see them as mundane or boring at all.

  15. November 6, 2010 3:58 pm

    I’m with Kitchu.
    I can’t begin to see how these are mundane. Some are quite stunning. A good eye is a good eye.

  16. nancy permalink
    November 7, 2010 1:54 pm

    i enjoy your b + w photos and would not have the same connection if they were in color. please continue with black and white.

  17. November 7, 2010 5:27 pm

    Hello, I found your Paris photos on Flickr and fell in love with them so it’s nice to discover your blog too. Peter Lindbergh was talking about the thought process of black and white photography the other day and I can identify with that. Funnily, most of my favourite pictures by others are b&w but I rarely use it myself, perhaps for that reason. Anyway, there are wonderful shots and I can’t wait to see more of your great work soon.

  18. November 7, 2010 6:13 pm

    Black and white and shades between always compel me. Color makes me smile, breathe slowly but black and white lands me in another world. Your black and white London world was a lovely place to spend some time.

  19. November 7, 2010 11:45 pm

    I really like this last series of shots! I especially like the one with the words I AM HERE> it begs to be noticed and somehow in color I think the words would have less effect. Nicely done!

  20. November 8, 2010 12:10 pm

    oh yes, I’ve learned that lesson myself. people and glass, that looks good in b/w

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