Black and White photogrqphy

Many of the photos I am presenting on my site are black and white. I started working with b&w in the Summer 2009. When I participated in the photo workshop of Johnatan Chritchley in Biarritz, he opened my eyes to the possibility of working with b&w in digital photography. For me it was a discovery that had a creative impact on me. It can be easier to get a stronger photographic statement in b&w. It is as if a picture gets more life when converted to monochrome. The forms and shapes are getting clearer. Although the human perception of the world is not b&w, the b&w photo has its very own expression and representation of the same world.

I shot some b&w films when I was young and when I see them today I am positively surprised how good they still are. Many of my early color photos are fading away, losing the colors. They are getting browner and browner. The b&s are equal good still.

So I bought some books on b&w photography and started learning about the art of b&w. Also I read about methods of using Lightroom. I bought the program in August 2009 and it helped my creativity further. With Lightroom I have more control over my photos than before and I am enjoying working with my photos. When I saw the photos of one of the famous and inspiring photographers in Norway, Morten Krogvold, in a book about Rome, it was revealing that he is working with a similar style that I have found as inspiring. I think his b&w photos from Rome are outstanding and they have quite dark tones in the photos. On some of the photos I am searching to achieve the same effect.

Some time I do crop the photos to a square format, that will give strength to the composition if it fits. The square format is a reference to the classic world of photography. I got my grandfathers favourite camera, a Rolleiflex 2.8F, as a part of my heritage. Of course it is still working good. I tried some b&w film and the square format invited me to try square ... when I brought some of my photos taken with the Sigmas for framing, the owner of the store thought they were shot with a Hasselblad. To me this was one of the best confirmation I have got on my work so far. The framer has worked with photographers for about 40 years. I think it also says something about the quality of the Sigma Foeveon sensor.

When I have defined the square crop, I will first set the black- and the white-point of the photo after the conversion to b&w. Then I will pass trough the normal global and local settings within Lightroom, also using the ND-filter and the light brush to simulate dodging and burning. Normally I will print the photos, I think the printed photo is much better than any screen versions. The jpg versions of the photos on the website are not giving sufficient justice to the printed version, but at least they give an idea of the photo itself. For printing I am using an Epson Pro 3800, which I think offers very good prints with its advanced b&w settings. As paper I have become quite fond of the Canson Baryta Photographique 310 grams.

1st version, revised 14th of December 2011