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Mono or colour?

One of our Image Academy photography students, Chris Lauder has just submitted images for one of his assignments and it really is all about the process of deciding if and when it is appropriate to shoot with mono at point of capture or to work in colour.

This is not just a simply case of taking a series of photographs and then converting to mono as that is a reactive process as a pose to proactively seeking out suitable subject matter that you feel will work best in mono.

This process requires some serious thought about images where colour simply gets in the way of the aesthetic and distracts the viewer form the overall impact of your desired image.

I know for me personally, I love leaving the house with a plan to shoot mono and knowing what works and what does not takes time to learn, experience and explore further when editing post capture.

It is interesting that mirrorless cameras can help us at capture by allowing a preview (live) of an image fully in mono, removing some of the uncertainty of a compositions suitability to monochromatic treatment.

Those shooting with a DSLR do not have this luxury and all images will be previewed in colour. This requires an even great level of mono perception and this is fine tuned with working with mono in mind as often as you can.

For me, monochrome photography has more in common with sculpture than any other medium.

A monochrome image is the epitome of abstraction and stillness and creates an aesthetic that colour at any level cannot express in the same way.

Colour, in fact, can often get in the way of a photograph, offering too many distractions for the viewer and as such removing them from the original intended composition to the point of feeling detached.

Mono for many is completely engaging in a way that touches the soul of the viewer and is compelling on many levels.

Regardless of your preferences in terms of colour aesthetic, there is no denying that mono is timeless in many regards and this submission demonstrates that these images will look as fresh and compelling in one hundred years from now and there is also no doubt that Chris should be very proud of these photographs.

Connie Cargill :)

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