It is possible to take black and white photographs with one’s camera. However, if one is shooting RAW, as is the case here, the black and white will only be visible as a preview. This of course, will vary from camera to camera and here I am discussing a CAnon model, the EOS 5D Mark 11.
For one’s camera to “see” black and white, one’s needs to enter the Menu on the back of the camera; the menu is revealed in the LED screen where the second red menu has a listing called Picture Style. By scrolling down to the menu item using the dial on the back and then using the centre button of the dial to enter the menu, one comes across a Monochrome setting that can be selected via the dial before being selected with the info button.
This monochrome setting can be further customised by changing the settings on one of four different controls (sharpness, contrast,that are visible as scales.
Once the monochrome settings have been selected and implemented, then the Live View will appear in black and white; once the shutter has been pressed then a preview of the image made will appear on the back screen in black and white. When the images are downloaded into a programme such as Lightroom they will appear initially as black and white images though once in the system, they are shown as colour.
If made with a RAW file, the file will always revert to colour; black and white previews will be there for reference, to enable one to see the scene in the more formalist light of black and white.
Technofetishism is a term used to describe an obsessive interest with the technical side of photography. In the early days of photography there was a great deal of concern over technique which is understandable since the medium was more reliant on the technical ability of photographers. These days, photography has become more aestheticised with much thought centring around different ways of understanding the photography.
However, one can not completely ignore the technical side of photography which still progresses, the advent of digital being an advance that has revolutionised photography. Cameras are much more complex than before and to be used properly they need to be examined.
The point is that the camera does not take the photograph alone, it needs the photographer to handle it and the photographer needs not only to know which button to push but also which direction to point the camera in. It may sound a rather a basic operation and it is yet to make photographs that convey something rather than merely represent what happens to be in front of the camera.
It is suggested that we explore Black and White photography initially by googling “Black and White photography” on the internet then by making photographs. Good if one can set one’s view on the camera to black and white so one is pre-visualising the images as black and white rather than colour. However, it would also be good to explore the way in which the black and white images correspond with the same photos in colour.
Google turns up various sites but the most interesting find is of images.
One shows an image in different kinds of black and white relating to modes of conversion and different channels!
his approach is expanded at …
The photographer is Keith Cooper who comments …
“Colour sometimes obscures the texture and form of subjects, it draws our attention the way flowers attract insects and birds, and ripe fruit catches your eye on a tree … Sometimes that’s what I want, but to me black and white can emphasise the structure of a scene.”