Embed Instagram Post Code Generator

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black and white photos do seem more dramatic...

This is a quote from one of my heroes, Andrei Tarkovsky, on colour cinema.

When we watch something going on we don't notice colour. A black-and-white film immediately creates the impression that your attention is concentrated on what is most important. On the screen colour imposes itself on you, whereas in real life that only happens at odd moments, so it's not right for the audience to be constantly aware of colour. Isolated details can be in colour if that is what corresponds to the state of the character on the screen. In real life the line that separates unawareness of colour from the moment when you start to notice it is quite imperceptible. Our unbroken, evenly paced flow of attention will suddenly be concentrated on some specific detail. A similar effect is achieved in a film when coloured shots are inserted into black-and-white.

Colour film as a concept uses the aesthetic principles of painting, or colour photography. As soon as you have a coloured picture in the frame it becomes a moving painting. It's all too beautiful, and unlike life. What you see in cinema is a coloured, painted plane, a composition on a plane. In a black-and-white film there is no feeling of something extraneous going on, the audience can watch the film without being distracted from the action by colour. From the moment it was born, cinema has been developing not according to its vocation, but according to purely commercial ideas. That started when they began making endless film versions of classics.

None of my short films had actually made use of black and white, even though I've often been mesmerized by the cinematographer of some black and white films, especially Tarkovsky's own IVAN'S CHILDHOOD, or Fellini's 8 1/2, or Carol Reed's THE THIRD MAN, or Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS.

Three days ago I updated my camera (it's a Panasonic LX-3) with a new firmware, so there's a new HIGH DYNAMIC feature, and from the feature, I can choose whether to take photos in colour or black and white. The previous post about the GREEN DAY concert had photos mostly taken with that feature, that's why everything became much more vivid.

Now, with black and white, I realized that I can take some random photos of random moments and suddenly it became noirish and dramatic.

For example, this is Kong and Teng Fei.

Kong might not even be looking at Teng Fei, and Teng Fei might be saying something to me. And all of a sudden, it seemed like an intense photo of Kong and Teng Fei being in an argument.

Teng Fei vs Kong

Or this one, where Kong was checking out something on the computer (and saying something to me) while Teng Fei was pondering over something, yet it seemed as if Kong was being disdainful towards Teng Fei, whilst Teng Fei's all resentful! Oooh, the power of black and white photography!

Teng Fei is resentful, Kong is disdainful

Yesterday while in Shinjuku, I was initially taking photos of the truck advertising "Hidarime Tantei EYE" when a man and a woman wandered into my shot. They are both strangers, but the photos seem to tell a different sort of story!

Random dude vs Random chick

Much angst between random dude and random chick

Even my own shadow seemed cooler.

My own shadow