Mano a mono(chrom): the humbling of a color-only photographer

Taken in Kyoto, this is one of my favorite pictures from our recent visit to Japan, and one that I don’t think would work in black and white. My challenge on the trip was to start seeing – and creating – pictures that would.

Leica M10, 35mm @ F1.4, ISO 1250

Let me begin this article by explaining what it isn’t. This isn’t a review of the Leica Monochrom (specifically the Typ 246 but henceforth referred to simply as ‘Monochrom’ since life is short). We all know that the Monochrom is a strange and unique camera,1 priced and positioned in a way that puts it out of reach for most photographers, myself included. But that’s why it’s so fascinating, and why when I got the opportunity to borrow one for a recent trip to Japan, I jumped at the chance.2

Over the years, my ‘no black and white’ rule for personal work has become pretty firm

My relationship with black and white imaging is complicated. I started out in the late 90s shooting black and white film, but since switching to digital in the early 2000s I’ve worked entirely in color. Very rarely – if ever – do I convert an image into monochrome unless at the request of one of my friends who wants to class-up their online dating profile. Over the years, my ‘no black and white’ rule for personal work has become pretty firm.

This display case is full of urns of earth, collected from WW2 cemeteries across the world. The colors of the flags have faded almost to the point where this scene is monochromatic.

Leica Monochrom, 28mm @ F2.8, ISO 6400

Why such a rigid personal policy? Catch me on an especially bumptious day → continue…

From:: DPreview

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