Last week I spoke about colour and black and white photography (click here if you missed it)
And although I did suggest that perhaps I ought to more explore the black and white/monochrome options, the fact remains…
I consider myself to be primarily a colour photographer, and I’ve been giving some thought as to why!
Now I realise that you could quite easily, highly likely in fact, be reading this and thinking, “well Adam, truth be told mate, why would I care about your choices, I’m not you, you’re not me, so your thoughts don’t matter to me, and vice versa”
And in a binary way, I wouldn’t disagree. But I wanted to write my thoughts down in case they were of benefit to anyone else.
But for me, I want to understand why I like what I like, I’m of the opinion that self awareness and understanding is a foundation to growth. (YMMV)
I’ll give you an analogy, which might explain it better.
2 sport car enthusiasts take their sports cars to a track day.
Better still, this track day has the added bonus of having a professional racing driver on hand, to coach and advise the participants
However after a morning of driving, both drivers quickly realise that they believe they can go quicker, but they’re not managing it.
The both ask the professional for guidance.
The first driver states: “I want to go faster”
The advice given is use more throttle and less brake
The second driver asks “I feel I’m ok for speed in turns 1 through to 5, but in turns 6 and 7 I’m really struggling”
The advice he is given is slow down a little bit in turn 5, leaving that corner too quickly spoils your run into turns 6 and 7, as you’re exiting 5 slower, you’ll be able to hold a tighter line into 6, which will give you the speed into turn 7
He tries this and immediately goes faster.
Yes a HIGHLY CONTRITE analogy (sorry!) easy to learn and quantify how to be better when the judge is a stop watch and the road is always the same shape
But even so, to be faster our second driver had to ask the right questions, seek the correct advice.
When it comes to our own style in photography, we have to be both the enthusiast and the track day instructor.
We have to ask ourselves the correct questions and find the appropriate answers.
Being better is a side effect, not an end result in itself.
I wanted to understand why I liked colour photography…
At first I thought it was the simple mechanics of desire!
Back in my film days, I could only shoot in Black and White, if I wanted to own the process from capture through too print, it had to be black and white, the facilities for colour simply weren’t available!
Oh how I longer for colour.
Of course digital changed that. Made colour easily accessible.
So what is it about colour…
Firstly – photography is not reality. No matter how realistic your end result is, the fact is – it stops being reality the moment you decide how you’re going to frame the shot. Some people (NOT ME) can be quite evangelical about post processing it’s such a cheat to clone something out or add something in but you’re doing that naturally before you even raise the camera to your eye, your creative choices start before the camera does, and needn’t stop when you turn it off.
For me I realised my love of colour started in my childhood.
Those 1960s movies, filmed in Technicolor – does this colour look real?
No it looks all pumped up and unrealistic
But the films I enjoyed as a kid, the Connery Bond movies, monster movies etc, are they not themselves pumped up and unrealistic?
Like photography, cinematography is not reality, they don’t work because you honestly believe that a solitary secret agent is going to defeat a global criminal organisation?!
No, to my mind these films work because they encourage you to WILLINGLY suspend disbelief, and surely Technicolor is part of that process?
You sit down to watch a film, you know the story isn’t real, the characters are not really believable and the whole thing is presented in a colour that doesn’t exist.
And you lap it up.
My favourite movie as a kid was ‘The Valley of Gwangi’ – a group of cowboys capture an Allosaurus from a forbidden valley, bring it back home to stick it in a rodeo show (I swear I’m not making this up) where of course it escapes and runs amok.
So for me, colour – quite big colour, the colours of memory, not reality are what draws me and keeps me to colour photography.
And I’d like to think, that much like my track day driver example from a few paragraphs ago, by understanding what makes me want to shoot they way I do, that I can continuously re-examine my output and ensure that I’m taking the correct line through turns 6 and 7
Of course I don’t want to physically replicate the look of Technicolor* – I watched Gwangi the other night, the colour’s appalling 🙂
(* RNI has a LR preset for it if you do!)
No – I want to take what the magic of Technicolor meant to me as a child and use it in my images.
What about you?
Have you thought through your own motivations? Have you decided what makes you tick creatively?
Because there’s no getting away from the fact, photography is both a physical and creative process, and I sincerely believe that you should holistically identify with both.
And let’s be honest, like I wrote last week, there’s no one quite offering so many colour (and black and white) choices that Fujifilm do, which is probably why I’ve owned more Fuji cameras (and I’m not just talking about the X series) than any other brand.
I seldom use a ‘vanilla’ Fujifilm profile, but having so many choices to begin with is another big draw for me with this system, and for me at least, I like the fact that many of Fujifilm profiles are more around mood and feeling, than digitising reality.
They work for me, and deliver what I like. But I only know this because I can quantify what I like.
But what about YOU, do think about delivering what you like? And how do you go about it?
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