One of the cool things about the digital age is the expansive freedom to manipulate photos long after the shutter has closed. From Instagram filters to full blown composite overhauls in Photoshop, the “developing” process of photography has become something unprecedented. It used to be that if you took pictures, using film, pretty much everything had to be done in camera. Perhaps you could do a bit of manipulation in the darkroom if you had that access and ability, but the majority of your choices had to be made in the moment.
Now, that’s not really the case. Like it or not, that’s the evolution of the art. You can now go back to files days or years later and bend them into an image that never entered your mind at the time of exposure. And while this opens up a lot of creative freedom, too many choices can cause a chaos that can only be combatted by a clarity of intention. Know the photo you’re going to make before you take it.
Lately, I’ve been trying to define and refine my photographic style - something I’ve found very difficult due to the mentioned abundance of options. I want to do everything. I want to shoot everything. So I’ve started picking specific things to focus on. Specific artists to emulate. I’ve thrown around a mess of ideas, out of which, in it’s infancy, has risen a new project: The Imitation Studies. My goal is to have this as an ongoing thing, presumably lasting several years and having several sub-series as I select photographers whose work captures my attention. I want to be able to critically study these artists, and find elements of their photography to apply to my own work in an attempt to refine my style.
My first forays into this project have led me into the wonderful world of black and white. While colour has dominated the latter half of photography’s history, it began in monochrome, and so it follows that this project shall as well. But I’ve found that not only what I’m shooting for this project is black and white, but more and more of my photos are in general. Soon enough my Instagram is just going to be a #blackandwhite feed of the world around me. Even in the process of writing my 2015 wrap-up blog (to be posted soon!), I was selecting some of my favourite photos from the past year and the vast majority of them are black and white. Maybe I'm on a kick - the same way I'll listen to the same album on repeat for weeks on end sometimes - but nonetheless, I’ve certainly found an appreciation for it. It’s a wonderful medium, stripping things down to form and subtle tonalities too often overlooked when saturated with colour. It’s different to what we see - and really, that’s one of my favourite things about photography: the ability to show things from a different perspective. We see in colour; we don’t see in black and white. It's a simple change really, but I love the difference it can make.