Mono point­ers

Digital Camera World - - PHOTO ACTIVE -

QI’m dis­ap­pointed with my black-and-white pho­tos. What are the cru­cial ar­eas to get right? Chloe Hin­dle

AI’m a great be­liever that you have to think in black and white to get good mono­chrome im­ages. It’s not enough to just shoot as you al­ways do, with no thought about how the scene will fi­nally ap­pear.

More than any­thing, you have to think about con­trast. The way light and shade play off each other is vi­tal in an im­age stripped of its colour. The real beauty of black and white is how places that re­ally wouldn’t work in colour can be­come rich pick­ings for work­ing in mono­chrome. Here’s a lit­tle thing I like to do if I am run­ning a black-and-white work­shop, and it’s some­thing you can do on your own too. Go to the dirt­i­est, ugli­est or least ob­vi­ously pho­to­genic place near you – like a heav­ily in­dus­trial area or per­haps a part of your near­est town that gets rather ne­glected and is run down. Walk around this area, but in­stead of look­ing at it as a whole, try to iden­tify places where there are strong shapes cre­ated by light and shade. When you have, start ex­per­i­ment­ing with com­po­si­tion to try to make the most in­ter­est­ing shots you can, know­ing that you will con­vert them all to mono­chrome.

I’m al­ways amazed how at first peo­ple can’t see any im­ages, but half an hour later af­ter a bit of en­cour­age­ment, they are 100% en­gaged in it and I have to drag them away.

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