Last spring, I found my landlord dead at the top of the stairs. She was a good person. Me and the neighbors all miss her. We talk about it sometimes. The following day, I stopped shooting in black and white and switched to color photography. One might imagine b&w had grown to feel somber, with color providing a more life-affirming escape from the noir vibes of death on the steps and T-Max 400. And that would be a good guess. It might even be the answer I'd give someone who asked at the time, but in hindsight, it wasn't the main reason.

In actuality, shooting in b&w almost exclusively for years had led me to start doubting my ability to work with color again after so much thinking in grey. I knew it was vital for me to relearn color, but I kept putting it off or perhaps even downright avoiding it. The immediacy of Maria's sudden demise was a memento mori of the highest order. And so I pushed aside my fears1 and started in on color again.

It's been over a year since then, and I feel I'm reasonably adept with color for my efforts, so I'm starting on a new challenge. I want to regain a sense of beginnerness. To help me do so, I'm tying one hand behind my back by setting the X100V up to take stylized monochrome images that push me out of my comfort zone.

My base configuration is the Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe: Ilford Ortho Plus 80 2 from Fuji X Weekly, although I plan to experiment with others and modify them over time. I'm capturing in JPEG format with no RAW backup.3 I will give the camera more say by granting it control of the ISO and shutter speed, with thresholds far wider than I'd ever do manually: a minimum shutter speed of 1/15 of a second4 and a maximum ISO of 12,800.5 I may even put the camera in fully automatic mode sometimes.6 I'm not committed to leaving the files entirely unedited as they come straight out of the camera, but I will exercise an even lighter touch than my usual gossamer whisp in the digital darkroom.

But this isn't one of my all-or-nothing experiments. I will continue shooting color with my other camera, as usual.

  1. Obviously, taking mediocre color photographs isn't actually scary, but nobody wants to find out they're bad at something, and not doing things is one way of protecting yourself from that. ↩︎

  2. I'm even using the suggested Clarity setting, which causes the camera to black out annoyingly for a second or two after each shot. ↩︎

  3. Scary! ↩︎

  4. Blurry!! ↩︎

  5. GRAINY!!! ↩︎

  6. When you're new to photography, everyone tells you to shoot in manual mode because that's how you learn to control your exposure, but after 10 or 20 years of controling your exposure, it's challenging to let go and cede complete control back to the camera. ↩︎

Da Da Da ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha (Offizielles Musikvideo)