I was exhibiting my “Ancient Stones” portfolio when someone approached.
We both stood there looking at the images when he said: “You just cannot do b&w work like this with digital!”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him, but thought of this anecdote:
“A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’
He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific Stove.'” Sam Haskins
Equipment is necessary, but it’s not nearly as important as many of us think it is.
Many people assume that I’m working in film and others are surprised to learn that I photograph in color. Let me explain.
All of the work you see on my website (with the exception of the 1970’s portfolio) was created digitally. I switched to digital in 2004 after working 35 years in the darkroom. And I’ll be honest, while I have fond memories of those darkroom days, I do not miss them and I would not go back.
Why? Because my work is better since I began using digital.
I’ve often heard the assumption that digital is suitable for color but not for black and white. That has not been my experience. I’ll use whatever tools give me the results I’m looking for and I have absolutely no allegiance to the process; film is not sacred, digital is not sacred, old processes are not sacred…the only thing that is sacred to me is the image.
Perhaps more surprising to some is that I shoot all of my images in color. I’ve written that I shoot in B&W mode and so you might wonder how can that be? Shooting in B&W mode allows me to see the camera’s preview image in black and white, but I save my files in RAW which means they are really in color.
Confusing? When you shoot in RAW all of those settings such as B&W mode, sharpness, saturation, toning, color balance…are not recorded in the image. RAW means just that, it’s a raw capture without any of those tweaks and the image is recorded in color.
This is a wonderful thing! This combination of B&W mode and RAW allows me to preview the image in black and white but process from the color image. Why do that? Because I don’t want my camera or software to decide how my images should look in black and white, the black and white processing is what makes my images “mine!”
Sometimes I’ll show people the “before” color photograph to illustrate how my vision and processing has changed the image.
My vision drives my processing and I’ll happily use whatever tools and processes best helps me do that.