Find a street that particularly interests you – it may be local or further afield. Shoot
30 colour images and 30 black and white images in a street photography style.
For this exercise I made 2 day trips to Marlborough town high street in Wiltshire. I used a Nikon D7200 and alternated between a 50mm prime and a 18-105mm lens (which I used the most). I set my camera to RAW and for the B & W images set my picture control to monochrome so I could check the images on the back of my camera screen as I went along.
Having viewed other photographers street photography I knew ahead that it wasn’t going to be something I found easy being an introvert with Social Anxiety Disorder. I am not a big fan of street photography either, some photographers capture some great shots but its not me. I am not keen on the urban environment in any way, shape or form, the older feel to Marlborough town high-street felt OK I guess. So I have done this in my own way and in my own style. However I did make some interesting observations during the exercise.
What difference does colour make? Which set do you prefer and why?
For the black and White photographs I was drawn to light and dark, texture, shadow, feel, form, shapes, focusing on composition within the frame, devoid of distraction. In contrast for the colour images I was clearly drawn to the bold colours on the high-street, the use of reds and greens, the festive time of year, symbols, signs, semiotics. I found the colour at times could be distracting, like a moth to the flame at times devoid of any concern for composition. I picked up on this a couple of times and corrected myself, pulling myself back to the brief.
Colour brings a sense of the ‘modern’/current society, commercialism, the use of advertising come alive, life, vibrancy . In my research I loved the colour work of Fred Herzog in the 1950’s the very vibrant use of bold colour (in particular red) and light and shadow.
Do I have to pick which set I prefer? I think I am interested in both for different reasons. My preference would probably be the B & W images but I don’t really like either set of images if I am totally honest. I like the image I took from a high vantage point overlooking the street with the plants either side, its like an opening to a movie where you are peering through into the start of a scene, I can see my hands on either side of the frame pulling back the plants to peer through onto the street. It could be in reflection of my love for nature, looking through the plants to the street scene below. I like the B & W image of the cobbled side street and the image from a high vantage point overlooking all of the roof tops. Compositionally I love the simplicity of the image of a wall with the gutter down the left and the window on the right. I like the image of the father with child walking away in an embrace, this is comforting to me and makes me think of my dad. The image of the father and son (presumably) with the son dressed in old clothing has an interesting dynamic and twist to it.
A selection of B &W:
A selection of Colour: