Saturday, 2 January 2010

My Work: Godown Worker (Kochi)

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy |Traders of Kochi-All Rights Reserved

Amongst my undeclared 2010 resolutions is to experiment with black & white photography...well, sort of. I'm revisiting some of my favorite photographs of last year, and seeing how they turn out if converted to black & white via Lightroom presets. Having limited patience and not being a pixel-pusher, LR presets (especially if they're free) are ideal for me.

Some of my favorite photographs lend themselves quite well to black & white treatment, especially if I apply a smidgen of toning. Others just don't respond as well, but I expect that this is a natural consequence of seeing and shooting in color. To really be able to see in black & white, one needs to shoot it in-camera, rather than process color images. Wasn't there an old trick that photographers used to see in black & white which involved squinting at a scene? No matter how much I squinted, it never worked for me, so I don't know if it's true or not.

The color version of the above photograph (click for a larger version) is part of my Traders of Kochi gallery. The streets of old Kochi, or more specifically, Mattencherry, are virtual live theater, with its bazaar-like alleys, and traditional godowns and stores stocked with all types of rice, dark brown nutmeg, red and green chillies, earthy ginger, black pepper and other spices.

I hope to photograph in Chandni Chowk when I'm in Delhi in a couple of weeks, and I plan to experiment with black & white (or at least, pre-visualize in B&W) as much as I can.

As for LR presets, they are all over the internet, but I found some particularly interesting ones on X-Equals, blog of Chicago-based Brandon Oelling.