site est. 2022


About monochrome expressions (01)



Some people may believe that black and white photography is only for a small group of enthusiasts or those who appreciate art.
We live in a colorful world, so why not capture its vibrancy in a photo? Nevertheless, monochrome photography has hidden depths beyond what is readily apparent. Photographers who prefer black and white photography challenge themselves to break free from the colorful world seen in everyday life. They aim to showcase their unique perspective and passion for capturing nature and people’s lives in a different light.

Why choose black and white photography? 
On my blog, I aim to highlight the hidden beauty of black and white photography, emphasizing the meaning of seeing and thinking in simple tones, and the exclusive techniques used in this form of photography. Today, I want to give a quick summary of the first photography in France, England, and the United States at the beginning of the 1800s and what it was like.
Additionally, I’ll cover what early black-and-white photography may have looked like with the different settings of modern digital cameras, as well as describe some of these experimental photos.

The earliest black and white photographs

It should go without saying that monochrome photography is a photographic technique that represents the subject using monochromatic tones. In most cases it is black and white. There are three early styles: daguerreotype, calotype, and tintype. These are very different from today’s film and digital technology. This is a bit technical, but I will briefly explain the characteristics and production methods of these three styles.


Daguerre's studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)
Wikipedia ; Daguerre’s studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)

In 1839, French inventor Louis Daguerre, with the help of Nicephore Niepce, created the successful daguerreotype photographic technique. The method involved shining light on a copper plate coated in silver iodide, fumigating it with mercury vapor, and then fixing it with a salt solution. It resulted in a permanent, unique image that couldn’t be reproduced or copied.

To view the highly reflective daguerreotype image clearly, it requires being tilted. The problem with these fragile pictures was that they were easily scratched or damaged upon contact.

Since no negatives were involved, the daguerreotype produced a straightforward, hand-colored positive image that was then enclosed in a glass-covered frame. During this era, it became trendy to exhibit daguerreotypes on indoor walls.
Similarly, in Western households, entire walls were adorned with paintings in the Baroque style. However, as photography became more widespread, family portraits took the place of these paintings.


Daguerre's studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)
Calotype photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot, England.

Calotype is a type of black and white photography invented by an Englishman named William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841. It is said to be the first photographic process to convert from negative to positive. Unlike the daguerreotype, which could not be copied, the calotype process required the creation of a paper negative from which multiple positive prints could be made. The process involved exposing silver iodide coated paper to light and developing it with chemicals to fix the image. Calotype images are generally less detailed and sharp than daguerreotypes, but they are more accessible and reproducible.


Tintype photo of two girls standing in front of painted background

Tintype photography was invented by Hamilton Smith, an American. He created this method in 1856. To produce tintypes, a thin iron sheet coated with chemicals is exposed to light in a camera before being developed with further chemicals. While tintypes had inferior image quality compared to daguerreotypes, they had the advantage of being inexpensive to produce and durable.
The tintype invention enabled photographers to capture images while on the go, including authentic depictions of battles during the Civil War.

About the photo in the header section.

This picture was taken at Negishi Forest Park in Yokohama.
The goal of the day was to try out various methods including ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) and multiple exposures. The subjects were the trees and open space of the stunning 18-hectare park that was constructed on the former site of Negishi Racecourse, Japan’s initial Western-style racetrack. The park features a remarkable stand with three towers, which was finished in 1929. I was especially fascinated by photographic styles from the 19th century.
I wanted to capture the 19th-century photographic style in my own unique way.

I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, which was released in November 2008, about 15 years ago. Back then, it was a popular choice among amateur photographers due to its 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. Despite owning newer equipment, I still rely on this camera, as it feels like an extension of my body.
On this day, I tried out a Zeiss Distagon T*2/35 ZE lens, which is a fully manual lens, for some photography.

To create the feeling of 19th century black and white photos, all you need to do is limit the amount of light. I used an aperture of f/22 and a fixed shutter speed of 1/5 second. I controlled the light by gradually adjusting the MAX400 variable ND filter to manage the blazing sun rays of the late summer day.
The picture shown here is a combination of three separate shots taken at different times. Finally, I made the particles rougher in Adobe Lightroom Classic to create a Tri-X-400-like effect.

What do you think? Although there are positives and negatives, I believe that photography in its early days managed to capture the passion of certain photographers aspiring to recreate Western paintings by painters like Vatto, Corot, and Millet, albeit to a small extent. Additionally, I find the peculiar use of digital cameras intriguing.







Daguerre's studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)
Wikipedia ; Daguerre’s studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)





Daguerre's studio, photographed with a daguerreotype (1837)
Calotype photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot, England.



Tintype photo of two girls standing in front of painted background




この日の目的は日本初の洋式競馬場であった根岸競馬場の跡地につくられた約18ヘクタールの雄大な公園の樹木や広場、昭和4年に完成した3塔が印象的なスタンド建築などを被写体にして、ICM (The Intentional Camera Movement )や多重露光などの手法を試してみることでした。

カメラ本体はCanon EOS 5D Mark II、2008年11月発売の機種。約2110万画素・35mmフルサイズCMOSセンサー搭載、ハイアマチュア向きのモデルでした。この古いEOSは15年間、体の一部のような存在で、新しい機器と並行して現在も活躍してくれています。
この日はZeiss Distagon T*2/35 ZEというフルマニュアルのレンズで試行撮影に臨みました。

上の写真は段階ごとに3枚を合成したものです。最終的にAdobe Lightroom Classicで粒子調整をしてTri-X-400っぽいざらつき感を加味しました。