For all the special effects we can now bring to a photograph, there remains a beautiful drama in the pairing of natural light and monochrome processing.
We are at that time of year where I’m looking at deadlines for two major art shows looming within the next week and I still have something in the neighborhood of 80 images to finish in order to make the best possible submissions. It’s not that I’m submitting that many photos, but I think better in terms of whole sets. Processing a single image from a set of 50 has never been something that sets well with me.
In the midst of all that chaos and decision making, I realized that there are still a couple of portrait sets sitting my que needing some love and attention. This is one of them. I deeply appreciate Katherine Reiling for being incredibly patient in waiting until December for images shot back in September. Of course, we did get the first set done and published back on September 22, which I encourage you to go back and examine, but I didn’t think at the time it would take me this long to get to the second set.
These images, even though largely shot indoors, were taken with the deliberate thought that I would process them in black and white. I almost renigged on that. When I went back, after letting them deliciously ferment for a while, I really liked the color that I was seeing. As a result, I processed all but three in color. This was a couple of weeks ago.
As the week went on, though, I wasn’t as comfortable with the images as I would have liked to have been. They weren’t really bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted to see, what I knew the images could deliver. So, I went back and re-processed them all as monochrome images. I am much happier with the results.
Natural light can be tricky. It does a great job of bringing out colors and contours and shadows. The challenge often is that the color can sometimes smooth or mask a gradient or shadow. Gradients, especially in the magenta to yellow spectrum, are often softened to the point of being indistinguishable in natural light. When processed as black and white, however, they stand out and have a more dramatic effect on the image.
So, as we originally intended, here are 15 new pictures of Katherine portrayed in beautiful black and white, exactly the way the natural light intended. Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the images full screen on your device.