“Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see” Paul Klee
I prefer to work in black and white which I suspect comes from both my temperament and my lack of confidence in my own abilities to handle all the extra complexity that colour brings. When I started in photography, black and white was all I could afford. I could also do my own developing and printing, and early had it impressed upon me that this meant it was “All your own work” to use the title of a small Kodak booklet I had on developing and printing. I explain in more detail elsewhere why I prefer black and white.
Why do I not feel the same enthusiasm about colour? We see the world in colour (well, most of us) after all. We also see the world as a moving world, but that doesn’t mean we all ditch still photography for cine, and as to experiencing the sounds and smells of the “real world”…Colour brings a new set of problems in terms of some colours attracting attention more than others, concentrating the viewer’s attention regardless of my preferences. I just don’t feel confident in the medium, end of story. I read somewhere that photographers generally didn’t feel comfortable with colour until the 1970s. I’m still stuck in the 60s, but I’ll leave it to you to supply which century!
I mainly use large format cameras, which use individual sheets of film in various sizes. I use 5″x4″, 5″x7″ and 10″x8″ film, but prefer the ratio of 5×7 to the squarer 5×4/10×8 proportions. This gives me the image quality that I prize, as well as allowing the use of what are called “camera movements” which give me additional control over perspective and focus. This type of camera is slow to use, which suits my considered style of photography. I was influenced by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, whose images I love, and who both used this type of camera.
I try to use my camera to show to others things that I find interesting, that might otherwise be overlooked.