One of the goals I set at the beginning of the year to improve and broaden my photography was learning to see in monochrome, sharpening my eye to recognize and find black and white scenes around me, not just relying on post-processing to achieve that look in the computer. I have been converting more files to monochrome lately, but those were always envisioned and captured as color files at the beginning, and only turned into greyscale later on, to see if they would work that way or not. Many of them did, in fact, but it had always remain an afterthought. Today there was a photowalk in a neighborhood of my city that I had never been to, so I decided this was as good an opportunity as any to reverse my way of shooting and actively see and look for monochromes from the start.
|Slow motions, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Afternoon shift, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
I always shoot in RAW, but today I set the picture style of the camera to monochrome, so the screen and viewfinder showed all in black and white, but the images captured still have all the color information; only the preview is black and white, which is very handy as it helps visualizing the scenes directly as you intend them to be and that helps understanding much better the dynamics of light and shadow that govern most monochrome images. It was early afternoon, the light was quite harsh and the shadows deep black, so pre-visualizing the captures as monochromes in-camera really helped me to see in terms of contrast around me and, therefore, create stronger images.
|My home by the tracks I, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|My home by the tracks II, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Arched station, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|The queue, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Figuring out, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Divergent directions, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|The bench, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Textures of time, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Healthy habit, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
I saw people working in the heat of the sun and in the shade of their open houses, people lining up to purchase some food and people walking to unknown places, people awaiting and people enjoying a break with a companion (a cigarette, a book). There was people taking a nap in the open, people eating and some people feeding others; there were kids on their own, and kids well guarded. People of all ages doing the things we all do everyday, unperturbed by our foreign presence.
|Guarded siesta, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Lunch, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Dinner, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Prince of the street, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|The joy of childhood, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|The missing pieces I, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|The missing pieces II, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
|Human scope, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|
There are days when you see nothing, and days when you find stories at every step you take. Today was one of the latter: there were more beats than I could catch, since I had to go along at the group's pace for fear or getting lost behind. Notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the walk, and the fact that I visualized the whole time in monochrome made the consequent post-processing stage much easier. Upon importing the pictures into the computer, I immediately converted them all into black and white, so I have never seen any of the captures from this day in color. I might, one day, since I keep all RAW files, but that was not the point of the exercise: I saw in monochrome, therefore that's how my memories have been forged. My photographs have no choice but to follow.
|The hand that knotted the rope, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm|