I shot quite a few rolls of B&W film over the weekend which is a bit of a change for me. Funny really since I used to shoot nothing but, and now it’s colour, colour, colour! Anyway, I processed some of them this morning and quite fancy the portrait below of my lovely niece and nephews (I just love their postures):
Liam, Molly and Rory, from the ‘Siblings’ series
Must’ve been the inspired reaction from looking at Diane Arbus‘ work! I miss the monochrome – it’s simpler somehow, less complicated and I suppose a touch nostalgic. Colour for me makes the image more real, hyper-real even. I do love this aspect of colour photography though. I mean really, life is kinda odd when you think about it for a bit, so colour – well used – reflects this well. For example, take a look at the grand master, William Eggleston, the man who legitimatized colour photography with pictures of subjects that he claims are the very stuff of life. Banal for some, extraordinary for others (including me).
Woman on a swing. Photo by William Eggleston
In the book, “William Eggleston” published by Scalo , Gunilla Knape, director of the Hasselblad Center, wrote: “Eggleston introduced a new aesthetic, a new ‘democratic’ way of seeing through which the ordinary and banal became extraordinary and engrossing.”
Surely then, the punctum in Eggleston’s work is the colour? Then again, as Charlotte Cotton pointed out recently on her now defunct site Tip of the Tongue, could B&W photography be the new colour? (I have attached a PDF of this article on my Academic Stuff page if you’re interested). Take a look at this marvelous image from New York photographer Alison Grippo (yep, another NY wunderkind!) and I think it might answer her question:
Anyway, suffice to say that I love both. They are certainly two very different artforms, a little like comparing digital to film or apples to oranges….. You get the gist.