Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Black and White or not to Black and White

When I first started down this road of photography I was taught all my technical skills in black and white film. Sometimes when I'm shooting digital I still shoot with a black and white bind set. If you have done both color and black and white you know the difference I'm talking about. Black and white can change the mood of a photograph and even quiet it down.

Let me illustrate my point visually:

In the above picture, color- I totally look at the fisherman's shoes and hat and wonder who is standing at the side of the frame and whether or not they color coordinated their outfits on purpose. Black and white- I notice the hat again but for the shape and feel of it, I wonder what they're looking at and what they may be thinking. Way more interesting, at least to me.

With that being said, I thought the below shark story needed to be told in black and white.

While we were fishing we walked up to the end of the pier to check out all the poles of the king fishermen. It was fascinating to see how they had their poles baited and rigged up to catch really big fish. While we were standing there we were lucky enough to watch a small shark get caught. (Mary watched the whole thing go down!) I was thrilled the young man who pulled it up was happy to play along with my shooting of the experience, and displayed the fish and even opened his mouth for me.

Alix looking out over the ocean surrounded
by the king fishermen's poles.

Bringing up the shark


Removing the hooks

Checking him out, he's really beautiful.

Molly was lucky enough to get to touch him.

Not so scary after all.

Here he is getting ready to put the
shark back in to the water. The young
fisherman was the coolest guy. He was
just this skinny young guy but when he
began to talk a really deep thick
southern drawl came out, it kind
of surprised us.

PS. One of the older fishermen told us that if people saw what they pulled up from the water onto that pier, they would never go in the water again...
In the week we were there they told us they caught a bull shark, a tiger shark and two hammerhead sharks.
Yeah, we went swimming after we went fishing that day. We laugh in the face of danger, unless it's "feeding time".


  1. Kelley,

    Black & White totally works for this series of shots; despite it being modern day it really gives the feel of them having been taken years ago but yeah I agree with you 100% on how B&W draws the attention to where you want it ie the interest.

    Always interesting to hear how people approach their photography & post; Kelley...did you shoot these thinking they would be in B&W or decide once you'd got them in the computer and viewed on a larger screen?

    By the way the shark is stunning; what did Molly say it's skin felt like?

    Great work as always; loving this online diary :)

    All the best to you and yours,

  2. Kelley,

    I too started out in photography all those years ago with mono film. I recall it seemed a bit strange at first but I grew love it, tending to shot it more than colour (probably because I could develop it and print myself).

    To me mono shots seem to be able to carry more mood than normal everyday colour - the fact that it's a medium that we don't natively see in, I think helps to make it more impactful that the same scene in colour. I really find it suits social documentary photography - so it's just perfect for your shark story.

    BTW I hope the other sharks those guys catch are no bigger than this one - you don't want to mess with a tiger shark!


  3. Thanks for stopping by guys! @Glyn, I did shoot these with black and white in mind, as I did some others yet to come. After seeing the regular fishing shots I had taken I thought I liked them better in color, they seemed more fun that way. Molly said the skin was smooth in one direction and rough in the other. Thanks for your comments. The fact that you guys keep coming back is why I keep posting!

    @David I am really in B&W processing withdrawals and am toying with the idea of taking a lab at school just so I have access to the room and materials. Thanks for your comments and PS I think that shark could have been used as bait for what those fishermen were pulling up. One of the older fishermen was missing a finger and pointed it out when the young guy told Molly to touch the shark because it wouldn't hurt her. Hmmmm.

    Best wishes to you both, Kel

  4. I can't wait to show this to Uncle Anthony. He'll be so jealous and excited!

  5. And give him a kiss from us while you're at it...