Why do you work exclusively in black and white?

I used to take both colour transparency (slide) films and black and white negative films and carried separate cameras for each so that I could do both at the same time. I take good shots in both but usually¬†found the black and white photographs more satisfying. Colour usually wins at sunset and sunrise, unless it’s misty!, but black and white can be taken at any time of day and in most conditions.

Creativity: Colour eventually became a distraction, I just wanted to take black and white. It is more creative, for me at least. These days I even avoid toning my prints with sepia or selenium as I prefer the pure black and white image. It forces the viewer to look at the scene as I want to present it, with all the graphical elements, shapes, textures, tones, patterns, etc. rather than for the colours present which can often divert your eye from the overall picture.

Control and quality: I take and process my own films as well as making the prints in the darkroom using far better quality print materials than are currently available for digital black and white inkjet prints.

Image life: My negatives are on silver gelatin films that are known to last many decades, probably hundreds of years. My darkroom prints are on the finest quality silver gelatin fibre based papers that are known to have a life of over 150 years as similar materials were being used in the mid to late 1800’s.