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Finding my love for black and white photography

I came up with this idea the other day whilst I was getting ready for bed. I realised that I would have time today to take photos and play around a bit. So started thinking about what I could photograph. We are moving house soon and will have lots more wall space for photos so I decided to create something that I would want to see on the wall. First my mind went to the classic chilli on a black marble background photo, but I also felt that was a little clique.

So, I went to Pinterest to brainstorm ideas. After about 10 minutes of scrolling and saving photos, I suddenly remembered a photo by Edward Weston that I had studied in my first year of college. When I first saw this photo I felt a connection to it and have always wanted to create something similar. But never had the chance until today.

Edward Weston - Pepper30
Edward Weston - Pepper30

What I love about the work of Edward Weston is the simplicity combined with the clever use of light and shadows to turn a mundane object into an interesting story and work of art. So of course the aim for this shoot is to do the same thing.

Weston’s photos are all in black and white, but I have never been a fan of black and white for my own photography as I tend to work with bright colours. So when I started shooting I was planning to actually use the photos in colour.

However after the first shot came up on the computer screen, I felt it was missing the emotion and detail which is seen in Weston’s work. I hit the convert to black and white button in Lightroom and suddenly it all came together.

The way the light was shinning on the pepper looked so much better, really highlighting the shadows the reflections and the shape of the pepper.

Peppers colour vs black and white
Peppers colour vs black and white

In the colour version of the image I found the red of the pepper to be too bright and too contrasted with the black background. Turning the red to grey helped to soften the contrast and therefore soften the feel given off by the pepper.

Finally I found that there was a lot more detail shown in the black and white version. Every mark, scratch, dent and water drop could now be seen. Although they were still there in the colour version, they were not as clear. I find that showing these details makes the pepper seem more real as we are not showing it as perfect, but showing that it is still beautiful despite its imperfections.

I continued shooting, trying out different poses for the pepper and even added a second pepper into the shot. Again converting them to black and white. I particularly love this photo as the peppers seem to have personality as they support each other in a gentle embrace.


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