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A Season of No Color: Details, Details, and Grain

Sometime mid-last year, I decided to test out my first roll of black & white film ever. A little shaky, hesitant, and worried, I later loosened up to the way b&w could possibly create a completely different perspective that I had been missing out on by relying upon color.

Photo by dearjme

Naturally, I gravitate closer to color.

As a child, I used to always dream in black and white, but somewhere along my early adolescent years, the dreams became colorful and wild — images of flower fields mixed with flashing lights and blushing faces. So when I discovered the joy of analogue, of course, all of my photos were shot in either shot in color negative or color slide.

Photo by dearjme

When a friend offered to trade my roll of Fuji Velvia for his roll of Kodak Tri-X, I straight up said “NO.” There was no way I was giving up potential lush greens and browns in my planned cross-processed Velvia for some black and white boring stuff. However, after listening to my friend jabber on about the way black and white film forces the photographer to be more patient, more intimate with the camera, and more attentive to the details, I decided to give it a try and challenge myself to see what results I could achieve. Plus, apparently Tri-X is good stuff, I guess.

Around my friends, hanging out, and at summer camp, I decided to give it a try, using my trusty Lomo LC-A+.

Portraits seem to be great with b&w.

Photo by dearjme

My results gave me mixed emotions. I had thoroughly enjoyed paying more attention to texture, detail, and composition. But the limited light, even with this 400 ISO film, resulted in extremely grainy results, and sometimes I had to up the exposure in post-process — which is something I never do, otherwise.

Looking back upon my experience, I can say that black and white film is a medium that takes dedication and an intentional connection between the photographer and the camera. Without it, it is simply a medium that lacks of color. I have seen beautiful pieces of work that are shot in b&w, and I seriously get super jealous that I cannot attain that level of beauty. But that’s just me—color is my thing, and what comes naturally cannot be forced, and vice versa.

Going for the elegant, old-school look? Add a timeless touch to your images with Black and White films. For that classic appeal, check out our black and white film selection.

written by dearjme

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Português.