Why I Switched to Black and White Photography

Black and white images make us pause to take a closer look.

To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”
 – Andri Cauldwell

While night photography will always be my first love, black and white photography is a genre that sits most comfortably with me. As a child of the sixties, I often rummaged through family old black and white photos taken with my dad’s 1950’s Braun Paxette camera and I was fascinated with the images. Those old images took me into a world of wonder and I would study them for hours. Black and white photography was forgotten once colour came to the masses but some photographers remained loyal. Today, in the world of digital photography, there are many great black and white photographers and it’s making a resurgence.

Black and white photography is seen as the purest form of photography. Humans see the world in colour and to me, it’s a common sight. Once you remove colour from an image, you are able to look at it without the distractions. It makes us pause and take a closer look. We see the subject, textures, patterns and composition. Black and white images can be dramatic and emotive, they tell a story. A black and white portrait is a picture of beauty and in my eyes, these portraits will always retain that classic, timeless element. 

“Colour records the image, but black and white records the feelings that lie beneath the surface.”   
~ Cole Thompson

When I took up photography as a hobby nine years ago, I went crazy and took photos of everything, as you do. I was passionate but soon realised that not all images looked good in colour so there they sat on my computer for years. Recently I listened to a Podcast, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen by Matt PayneIn Episode 178, Discovering Your Vision in Landscape Photography, Matt interviews Cole Thompson, a brilliant black and white photographer who has changed the way I do things. Cole spoke directly to me and revived my passion, for not only photograph, but for black and white photography as well. Listening to Cole was just what I needed to get me motivated again.

Night photography is magical but it is becoming more and more impractical for me as I get older. Black and white photography, well to me that’s a genre that is both versatile and practical. I can be trigger happy without having to separate the genres because black and white photography is a genre that covers whatever you want to cover. It is not limited to say, night photography, landscapes, architecture, portraits, etc. – you can do them all! 

I am currently sifting through my archives as life eases back into a relatively normal life here in Australia. I am excited about going out again to shoot some great black and white photography. However, keep an eye on my night photography because that love affair is not over yet. I look forward to writing blogs again. It feels good to be back.

PODCASTS: Please give Matt Payne’s podcast a go, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen. He has great guests and I am hooked. It’s one of the best (if not the best) photography podcasts around. I recommend Episode 178 with Cole Thompson. Cole talks about developing a personal vision, not following the rules, external validation and its impact and being true to yourself. Also check out Cole Thomspon’s and Matt Payne’s websites. I am a huge Matt Payne fan and listen to his podcasts regularly. I find Matt to be a great interviewer and he asks the right questions, and I love his work! Matt’s podcast is interesting, inspiring and motivating. And in case you haven’t already noticed, I am a HUGE Cole Thompson fan ☺️

VIDEOWhy Black and White by Cole Thompson. Definitely worth watching.

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Website: normamartiriphotography.com.au

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Wetlands

These were taken at Sandy Camp Road Wetlands Reserve in Brisbane not far from where I live. I work in the city and often see ibises scavenging through bins so it was great to see them and other birds in their natural habitat.

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Jacaranda

The Jacaranda trees are in full bloom in Brisbane right now. It is Spring here and the city is bursting in purple blooms in tree-lined streets and dottings in and around the city. It is a magical time of year and the quintessential image of Brisbane. Adding to that magic is a lovely purple blanket of fallen blossoms. Traditionally signalling the beginning of the exam season, it is said that if you haven’t started studying by the time the trees are bursting then you are doomed.

The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is the site of Australia’s first grown Jacaranda tree and was depicted in the 1903 painting by Richard Godfrey Rivers titled “Under the Jacaranda Tree”. The painting is of the artist and his wife Selina taking tea under the tree. That tree was a Brisbane landmark until it was knocked over by a cyclone in 1980.

I am grateful to Walter Hill  who planted the first tree here in 1864. He was at the time the superintendent of Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and obtained the Jacaranda seed from Brazil via the Australian wheat ships that traded with South America. It has brought so much beauty to our city.

Here’s a poem I wrote a few years back:

Jacaranda

September blooms of purple hues,
adorn the city street.
And in bright splendour praises Spring,
where limbs and feathers meet.

Amid soft purple hues I lay,
to rest my weary head.
In fantasies drifting away,
upon a sprinkled spread.

Copyright © October 2011 Norma Martiri

aaatrees
Under the Jacaranda Tree by Richard Godfrey Rivers 1903

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Sunset Over the Captain Cook Bridge

I almost didn’t go for my planned shoot after work this afternoon because of the cloud cover but I’m glad I did. It looked like rain was going to set in but for a short time the clouds parted for this glorious sunset over the Captain Cook Bridge. Within an hour it it was blue. Nature certainly likes to show off 🙂

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Nepalese Pagoda Revisited

Another photo on the Nepalese Pagoda at Southbank. This was taken a couple of weeks ago and the trees were much fuller this time.

See the original post here.
The Nepalese Pagoda is one of South Bank’s most treasured attractions. Originally brought to Brisbane as the Kingdom of Nepal’s contribution to World Expo 88, the three-story high Pagoda is now located in the heart of the Parklands. It features 80 tonnes of hand-carved Nepalese timber and took more than 160 Nepalese families two years to build. It is also one of only three Nepalese peace pagodas in the world to be located outside of Nepal. [Source]

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City Views

Out and about at Kangaroo Point Cliffs once again. Brisbane has such breathtaking city views and the stars were out to play. Perfect!

 

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