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Mad About MonoChrome


The arrival of Spring is met with so much excitement for my family as it marks the opening of our cottage in Bobcaygeon.  While opening this year, I took a bit of a break to walk around town with my vintage Hasselblad 500 CM and a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta. The latter was loaded with film that had expired some 40 or more years ago.

After a long Winter, I can’t express just how happy I was to be shooting once more in my favourite little town with two of my favourite classic cameras. As with most photo walks, my mind tends to wander.

On this Spring day, I thought about why I tend to reach for black and white film most of the time. It came to me as I searched for compositions in flat, overcast conditions. In colour photography, the colours themselves are key elements in the composition. Colours can shape the scene, drawing the viewers eye. They are part of the story you are trying to tell. Strip colour from a photo and you are left with tones, shapes and textures. They are there as well with a colour photo, but remove that one element and the rest take on so much more significance. My eye is forced to see the world differently, searching for compositions in a way that is so refreshing. My surroundings transform into tones, shapes and leading lines as I fall into a creative dance with shadows and highlights.

You don’t have to shoot film to experiment with black and white photography. Most modern digital cameras have a monochrome mode. If you haven’t tried it, you really should. Of course, to get the best experience, pick up a vintage film camera and load it with a nice Ilford black and white film. FP4 and HP5 are personal favourites. 

Happy shooting!

Interested in purchasing prints from Jason? You’ll find his contact information on the right.

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