Archives for posts with tag: blackandwhite

For the past few years i have solely been photographing in black and white. Well actually i must confess the odd color roll of film that i have shot has sat forgotten in a container at the back of the fridge, or my last pack of fp100c through the Polaroid. But for the most part, i have “seen” only in monochrome. My wife, Jess had been bugging me since our (almost) 3yo was born, “I want you to get color photos of the kids!” Finally i relented and so became the owner of a black Leica M240, (my compromise on giving in to color). I have always liked color photography and especially the work of Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, Gregory Crewdson etc, so that film / cinematic look really appeals to me and what i had looked to achieve for my own photography.

The main reason i cut color out was to concentrate on the basics. I started to really look at composition, form, content and all the technical aspects of photography, shooting in a documentary fashion and so black and white appealed to me. I could also develop my own black and white film at home in the laundry whilst color film, being more sensitive to temperature during development, made me hesitant to try it myself without some further investment in gadgets to control it.

Back to color and actually to a book that i have been reading “Warbreaker”, by Brandon Sanderson. Color is a kind of magical element in the novel, with the amount of breath one holds and life being associated with vivid colors and being able to experience the full gamut of hues and subtleties in a color. Any way, great book, read it, it got me thinking more of color and then photographing color.

So to photographing in color again! I didn’t realize just how much i had tuned out of seeing color in my photography. I saw only tones of grey, subconsciously converting what i had been seeing with my eyes into how it will look in monochrome. I had been conscious that i was doing this a number of times when abandoning shots because without the color that first attracted me, i realized the image would have just been a bit boring, lacked something. So i had to think of how to build images, what are the elements that i want to have in my images? First i need to find something that interests me, the subject, maybe its just the feeling from an abstraction, maybe its something going on, portrait or an actual object. Then i have to put it into a composition, where to place it, depth of field, leading lines, layering, sub framing, aspect ratio, portrait or landscape, viewpoint. Then the lighting obviously, the exposure, the technical camera stuff on how to capture what i want. Finally, what i had been neglecting was the color, can it be used to separate objects, layers, add mood, highlight a subject etc. I know that before i decided to shoot monochrome, i had never really thought about color in this way, it was always there, in the frame but ignored. Now i feel like i see color in a more vivid way, with autumn here at the moment the colors were so obvious to me on my first walk out of the house with the new camera and new ability to capture it that i have just been on a bit of a color bender lately!

Follow my monochrome work on instagram @abyssic_wizard and my new color work @michael_jolliffe. I am also a member of @videre_collective.

Went on a hike Saturday morning from Perry’s Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest in the Blue Mountains. I decided to leave my tripod in the car as it was pouring rain, the tripod is pretty heavy and the track is hard grade, being steps down a cliff into the valley then back up. I was determined to go however, the conditions meant it was quite dark, i was unsure if i would be able to shoot the xpan. I had the 30mm with the center corrective filter, the widest aperture is f5.6, with the center filter it is effectively an f8 or so. I decided to load hp5 and push to 1600 in development to be able to give me a usable shutter speed range of 15th – 30th/sec due to the available light. I thought that i might not be able to achieve much but shot two rolls before i was forced to pack away the cameras from being drowned. I’m glad that i didn’t give up, here are some shots from the two rolls i shot. Developed in xtol stock for 13mins.

I look at creating photographs that are slightly different than what we see in the real world but are still easily identifiable and relatable. With the use of angles to black and white and over saturated colour, composition, hopefully I make a representation that is not just documentary but different enough from the real world that the average person could see it as being art. That is my surreal intention.

















I never set out to photograph children, in fact I thought of children photography as something I wanted to avoid! Whenever I thought of it I imagined cringe worthy shots of children in awkward poses propped against a generic background or babies in pumpkins (it was done and then imitated to death). So, I surprised myself by enjoying photographing kids their own terms. They will never do what you want, you have to be cool, gain their trust. Put the camera down and play with them. When you are no longer a stranger, then you can begin documenting them in their natural environment. The results will be how the parents and family know and see their kids, dirty faces, emotions, laughs and everything you wanted to capture in the first place and while having a bit of fun being a kid.

The greatest reward from photography is the preservation of events in an artful form. It is a joy to look back upon photographs and have the memories triggered or even stories created in your mind if you were not present. That’s why I make images and why it is important to me.




I would like to share a little about this photograph of my daughter Emiliana. It was taken a few weeks ago, I had decided to take the afternoon off my day job and take my daughter down to her favourite local park. I brought along one of my smaller body camera’s with a 35mm lens, just in case anything caught my attention that may be worth photographing. Instead, I ended up running all over the playground with my daughter, laughing and having a great time. She kept going back to the flying fox and I thought this could make a great shot, at least as a family snapshot for some fun. As she is a little bit too short, I had to lift her onto the seat at the start and run to the end to stop her falling off, because it ends pretty suddenly and almost sends the kids flying horizontally! After a few times down and back I thought that I would give a go at jogging alongside whilst taking a few snaps as we got near the end and then cushion the finish by gently slowing her speed. Because I was so close, the 35mm was perfect, adding a sense of intimacy to the scene, I chose my angle to be able to clearly see Emilianas’ face and a wide aperture for a some nice background blur or bokeh. This was my favourite from the few that I captured and I love her expression.

Take care and thanks for reading!

Michael Jolliffe