365 days of B&W

In 2017, I got tagged into one of those photo challenges that crop up on Facebook every now and then. This was a challenge to post a black and white photo every day for seven days, which was to have no people in it and no explanation. I enjoyed that a lot and decided to keep that project going for the rest of the year. I didn’t make a new photo every day, but I ended up with 45 photos by the end of the year. I posted them on instagram and also on my personal blog.

You can see my favourites on that blog, Stepping on the Cracks.

2017 B&W 01-07.jpg

My original seven b&w photos from 2017. Yes, one is sepia. I’m sure no one noticed.

I wanted to continue the project into 2018 so I made a commitment to make a black and white photo every day and post it on my instagram account. I stuck to the original “no people, no explanation” rule and added in a couple of new rules.

First, the photo had to be made on the day that I posted it. No going back through the archives to find something. I had to actually go out every day and find something to photograph for the project. (There may have been occasions where the day was almost over and I’d not found anything that grabbed my attention and I had to resort to making arty photos of my front door or my wine glass at 11pm. Maybe . . . )

20180609 White wine edit

Day 160. It’s late at night and I don’t have a photo yet!

I was also known to take a photo of something intending to use it for the project that day, only to find something I liked better later in the day, and going back to the original subject a few days later to re-take the photo so that it was the correct date.

Second, hmmm, no there was no second. I intended that all the photos be made on my iPhone. I started out editing in Snapseed but swapped over to Lightroom CC for mobile several months in. There are a couple that started life on my SLR, but for the most part, these are phone photos. This was good in one way because I almost always have my phone on me and so I can take photos of anything, anytime. But it wasn’t so good for helping me to get to know my camera better (I only got it at the end of 2017) because I’d always be reaching for the phone rather than the camera.

I didn’t restrict myself in terms of subject matter either. It was perfectly okay to post a photo of something I’d already posted, as long as it was from a different angle or at a different time of day or had some other feature that made it look different to a previous photo.

So, what did I learn from 365 days of making black and white images?

It reinforced for me that not every image can be converted to black and white. I can’t just go out, take a photo and hit the B&W button and expect a good result. And if it’s a bad photo to start with, making it black and white doesn’t fix that.

20180530 Little building on Liverpool St edit

Day 150. Unimpressive black & white, but this is just not a good photo.

Some subjects work better than others. I think images where there’s a lot going on don’t work as well, in a lot of cases, than images with a single, simple subject.

Sometimes having a lot in an image can work quite well too. Here, I think it’s all about the light and shadows and the contrast between the lovely T&G building that’s the main subject of the photo, and its surrounds.

20180716 Back of T&G 5 edit

Day 197

As the year went on I found myself looking for lines and for light and shadows and trying to picture what effects might look good in a black and white image. Sometimes I think it worked.

20180901 Taroona Medical Centre edit 2

Day 244

Other times not so much.

20181024 Grate on Liverpool St 2 edit

Day 297

I was increasingly drawn to making images like this

20180827 From one carpark to another edit

Day 239

and this,

20181013

Day 286

as well as finding joy in the more abstract things I saw around me and going crazy with the contrast.

It was an interesting, and challenging, 365-day project and one I’m glad I undertook. I know I’ve only just started to scratch the surface of black and white photography, but I’m hooked on it! I’m ready to learn a lot more in 2019, without the (self-imposed) pressure of having to post a new photograph every day.

I hope you enjoyed following my project in 2018. Thank you to the people who have supported me over the year. Your comments and encouragement have meant a lot to me.

To see the whole project, visit  2018 black & white project.

20181231 B&W combo 1

Some of my favourite photos from the 2018 project.

 

2 thoughts on “365 days of B&W

  1. Pete

    I love the idea. It forces you to challenge yourself and become inventive. I don’t think I could keep it up though – that takes more commitment than I have.
    It would be great if you could revisit some of your favourite images with some explanations. I’ve been intrigued by a few of them and would love to get some detail!

    About the iPhone: some of my favourites in my own collection have been quick snaps on the iPhone. Typically (especially when loaded up) a moment will not wait for me to unpack the SLR and check my settings. Two of my best pics from Nepal were on the phone.

    Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. straightlinesgirl Post author

      Thanks, Pete 🙂 I was thinking about revisiting some of them and re-editing and maybe reposting with an explanation. Are there any in particular you can think of off the top of your head that you were interested in? Let me know!

      Like

      Reply

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