I’ve always been a fan of black and white photography, there’s an innocent simplicity for me that I see in black and white I don’t always see in colour photography.
Why black and white for film photography?
Maybe it’s due to my colour blindness or something more simple, but I find the dynamic changes in light and shadow far more simple to process in my minds eye than I find in colour.
Even when shooting digital I convert almost all my photos to black and white with a preset in Lightroom – sometimes for consistency but mainly because it works for me. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate colour photography, I just find black and white photographs more easy on the eye.
I have a fridge full of colour film but always reach for black and white film whenever loading up the camera, I always feel as if I’m going to make better photographs with black and white film than with colour.
Favourite black and white film stocks
I particularly like Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP5 400 for almost all situations, they seem to suit what I want from film, giving me a nice contrast when I shoot them.
In grey old England, they’re also fun to shoot pushed without any real loss of quality or grain effects, helping to give that look I like most. I will admit to not shooting many other black and white film stock, I find the chosen two are the most ideal for me in almost any conditions I want them for.
Part of the reason I want to shoot more film is about the simplicity and consistency it offers. I want a simple life of not having too many choices.
One camera, one lens, one film stock makes my photography life simple and leaves me more time to shoot, less time to worry about editing, processing and how the final image looks.
We all have fantastic choices available to us nowadays with photography, for me black and white photography keeps those choices day to live with and for me that’s all I care about.