Welcome to my new project page, Black & White Landscapes. It’s good practice for photographers to set themselves new challenges which will both help develop their technique and inspire some creativity.
As a professional who trained and worked using film and a wet darkroom I often feel nostalgic about these processes, but is there any place for them in today’s digital photography world? In recent years camera manufactures such as Fuji, Olympus, Leica and Nikon have launched new products with a retro film feel. I’m a big fan of Fuji cameras because I’m more comfortable with a shutter speed and aperture dial then with a menu driven view screen. Film sales have also increased in recent years and the interest in second hand film cameras, partly fuelled by students studying photography who still [thankfully] have to learn about film and wet processing.
Great landscape photographers such as Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, Sebastião Salgado, Brett Weston and Takeshi Mizukoshi mastered B&W landscape. This is no easy task as once colour is removed you only have shape, light and texture to work with.
I have set myself some parameters for this project. Firstly all the photographs have to be taken on manual film cameras, currently I’m using a medium format Bronica ETRs and 35mm Olympus OM1. The film is Ilford FP4 [125iso] or HP5 [400iso]. All the film is hand developed using Ilford chemistry. Finally the film is scanned on an Epson V800 using Silver Fast 8SE and post processing in Adobe Lightroom. In order to be true to the analogue experience the post processing is similar to that which would be achieve in a wet darkroom, e.g. exposure, contrast, toning and the use of dodging and burning. No Lightroom presets are use saved for those developed from scratch by me to achieve consistency over all the photographs.
I hope you enjoy the collection as it grows over the coming year.