Out walking locally in Campbell Park last week, the landscape itself was already degrading – that wide and vibrant palette of Spring greens slowly homogenising to a dull rather tired shade of green. Elements of design, and images of people out walking, were on my shopping list. As so often, it was just the compact for company – keeping it simple.
I spotted a lone walker, walking away from me on a sinuous path. I caught her (I think it’s a ‘her’) just before she went too far into the next bend.
At the point of capture I had a clear idea of how the final image would look. In colour it was a swathe of green with an unremarkable figure – no contrasting colour, nothing to stand out. It was just an average image, nothing more than that in colour.
Back home I barely looked at the image before de-saturating it, and then went straight to work to boost the contrast. I let the blacks go black and the highlights go white. It felt like I was back in the darkroom printing on Grade 5 paper.
You can do things with B&W that you can never do with colour – putting the bite in, creating an image that punches above its weight. Finally I made a crop to accentuate the composition and place the figure close to an important division of thirds. B&W has the ability to simplify and refine an image. It becomes purely about form, relationships and contrasts.
B&W can never make the impossible good, but it can make the possible better.
Remember you can always click on an image to see a higher quality enlargement.