I have as many will be aware working a lot with Black and White, or Monochromatic images recently.
In somewhat a return to beginnings.
My very first attempts at photography were with a 127 size film camera and making contact prints from each negative individually, at first, in the family laundry under the glow of weak orange light. It’s hard to know if my somewhat blurry images of Blackie, the Cat could be seen as anything more than a waste of pocket money. 🙂
But I persisted, and as I did I learned something of the craft of photography by osmosis from books at my local library.
Here I learned of the work of a Sydney based photographer, Max Dupain. Most will have seen a version of his “Sunbaker” image. But Max was a much more influential artist.
There are plenty of sites that delve into his life, history and art, so I won’t belabour that.
He stood, against, in the 1930s the ‘pictorialists’. The blurry, hazy interpretations of people, landscape, architecture and more. He set a course of drama, clarity and importance of tone, shape and design..
You can flick through a range of his images on the web and conclude, “Oh, I’ve seen that before, or made shots just like that of the same subject.”
But Max did it first.
Some sites worth checking out to see his work.
Sydney Opera House Construction
I remember acquiring for my Father a copy of a Max Dupain series calendar around 1989. My Father’s own work was in someways contemporaneous with Max. We did spend a few hours occasionally discussing the photos on that calendar.
Max did not travel the world, preferring his own home locations, but I remember a print with rich black tones of “Lunchtime in Hobart” and a similar one of “Collins Street, Melbourne“.
Another fine series is the “Shark Tower at Manly“
and from that tower several images of the surf running on Manly Beach. and “Lifesavers“
Max once wrote that if his work was to have any significance,:
” It has to be devoted to that place where I have been born, reared and worked, thought, philosophised and made pictures to the best of my ability. And. That is all I need. “
So it has been from that background that I’ve been been working in Mono of late. Not taking a preexisting image and using the amazing effects of Nik Silver EFx Pro, but rather looking for shape, tone, texture and design but rather seeking out images that have the qualities of a great Mono shot. I have been using the Monochrome setting in-camera, (and yes, they are JPEG), and once again experimenting with the use of inbuilt colour filtration to increase, or decrease a range of tones.
When I saw Bronson sitting in an open area against a clear blue sky, I was already seeing the final result. I have published a version of this shot on Flickr. I had opened up the shadows and brightened up the sky, but my first choice was as it came from camera.