For a brief period of time, I tried focusing on improving myself as a photographer. Not just in street photography but photography in general. I tried having more dynamics in my photos, I started photographing the more fine art-ish slash minimalist things for the other photography that I do. And lastly, I tried shooting more in color than black and white. Black and white is something I’m more comfortable doing.
Focusing on the idea of shooting color I started to become more conscious about the colors in front of me. I considered the environment greatly. To be honest shooting in color opened a lot of ways I can approach my photography style. But one thing was missing. Something that was there in my previous photos, or at least for what I believe so. The soul of my photographs was gone.
On realizing (Pt. 1)
One day, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. He’s also into street photography. The topic was about style and how strong the images we produce. Being a friend of mine, he told me I was losing it. Like a video, I saw where Meyerowitz recalls how Winogrand and Papageorge telling him how he’s lost it when he started photographing in color from black and white. Unlike Meyerowitz sticking up to his plan on pursuing color despite what Winogrand has told him, I was on the opposite end. I know my friend was right. I was losing it. Now to be clear, my friend never mentioned anything about me shooting in color. But that’s how I see it, I lost it when I started shooting in color.
The thought lingered in my head for a while. I still went on to photograph in color for a couple more weeks.
The one that almost got away
Yeah, sounds cheesy, I know. But that’s the perfect way I could describe it. I had something going on already shooting black and white. I was on to something until I shifted shooting color. Within in months of shooting mainly in color, I tried desperately looking for the style I want. I tried to capture that character that will separate me from others. I know I only tried it for a short time but it was enough for me to realize. Street photography and color isn’t my thing.
My mind is already telling me: “there is something wrong with your new approach. It’s not you. “ I can hear it, but I didn’t listen. I neglected the thought until finally, I listened. I took a look at my photographs, converted them to black and white. That’s when I finally realized, I see in black and white.
On realizing (Pt. 2)
After realizing the fact that I see in black and white rather than in color, I went to an online community of film photographers and enthusiasts. I just had a friendly question of what their thoughts are about converting color film into black and white. I’ve got a lot of great responses. All were positive and encouraging to be honest. But one comment struck me the most. I revealed that besides the cost difference of shooting in color and converting to black and white VS. using a black and white film, one of my main reason was that I feel like I see better in black and white. His response was, to paraphrase: “Don’t waste time shooting in color if color isn’t your thing!” Something in the likes of that.
That phrase was actually the best line I got from the thread I started. It strengthens my will to focus more on something that I’m better (at least I think so) and most of all I’m enjoying the most.
Leaving Color (I’m exaggerating)
I missed the gestures and the fleeting moments. I lost the emotion, the soul of my photographs. My images are distracting. I was going to a direction I didn’t want myself to be in. I’ m out.
So yeah, I’m leaving color photography now. Not permanently but indefinitely, and only in the world of street photography, documentary and/ or travel photography. I’ll still be shooting with color film and with my digital camera for the other types of photographs I make (@3daystillmundane). I know it’s still a good exercise that I can benefit from.
With everything said, shooting in color did something good to me
Despite the realization that street photography and color doesn’t mix well when I do it, I do believe the time I tried taking photos of people in the public did something good.
In fact, I credit some maturity of my photographic style when I was still shooting in color. I kept an open mind. When I was shooting in black and white before, I had nothing else in mind but to photograph. But when I started shooting in color, I started stepping out of my comfort zone. I started incorporating dynamics and I became more focused on looking for layers. I looked for contrasting colors or complimenting visuals. In short, I allowed change and pushed myself as far as I could in that short while.
Although street photography in color isn't going well for me, there were doors that opened because I tried it and to me, it’s still a win tying it out one more time. I’ll stop here and start taking more photos. Let's go!
If you're interested on how I'm doing now with my black and white street photos, check out my Instagram and tell me what you think! @themostvulnerable