Jean B: Le Monochrom et moi

In June, Rita and I were in final preparation for our triennial vacation across the pond. We had briefly flirted with going to Scotland, but Montreal’s damp spring made us fear the worst so we opted instead for France, turning our back on meals of crappit heid and haggis for foie gras and coq au vin! 

If only the selection of camera were so easy. After much to and fro, I landed on the Monochrom, belying the “colourful character” moniker that more polite readers of this newsletter have occasionally employed when referring to me. I’ll admit that I did experience some moments of doubt, especially at the beginning of our travels. In early summer, the countryside of France is awash in colour: flowers in full bloom, crops a rich, verdant green, sunsets a magnificent panoply of reds. Trying to look for black-and-white tones was challenging! After several days of being mesmerized by the many hues, I finally saw the texture of the trees through the colour of the forest. 


By the midpoint of our trip I felt comfortable in my zone and pleased with my choice. Going to a new landscape, reacting to what I saw and what moved me, and creating a photographic diary was an experience enriched by the discipline imposed through the simplicity of black and white. The Monochrom contributed to this experience not only because of its nonpareil image quality, but by heightening my sense of time and place and providing me with the satisfaction of making photographs based on nothing but what I saw and felt at that moment.

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