The use of Instagram means something different to different people, and I’ll write more about my feelings on that in another post, but briefly, I’ll tell you that my Instagram, @HelenHobden is fairly curated with some of my best photography included. However, whilst away in Connecticut, slouched on the hotel-room armchair, having a break from typing; I realised that the simple scene with my feet up on the arm would look great as a square-cropped photo in grainy high-contrast black and white….
I fetched my phone to test that theory and was correct. It’s a pretty boring photo, and looked no good at all in colour with the beige velour chair matching the colour of the wallpaper, and not all that dis-similar to the skin-tone of my feet either! However, the light coming through the window, low beneath the gathering storm clouds looked really good and I wanted to capture it.
Obviously, my first thought after being pleased with a photograph, is to share it on Instagram. It doesn’t go. It wouldn’t do at all. I checked the photo again in colour, but no. Just no. I was agonised!
This was only fifteen minutes ago by the way! (On the 2nd of August.) I’m typing this up quickly while it’s all fresh in my mind. I don’t want to start up and maintain another Instagram account, and I’m quite excited about the solution, and it’s so obvious I literally just slapped my forehead for not thinking of it immediately: I am going to share the photo on my blog. (Imagine a lightbulb coming on, or the sound effect of a magic wand please.)
But the idea didn’t stop there. I have always been inspired by black and white documentary or candid-style photos of the nineteen sixties. I’m thinking of the photos I remember in The Lady Is a Tramp by David Bailey (without the rude bits) – a book I’m gutted I’ve mislaid or lent to someone. And so, for the sheer enjoyment of it, I’ve decided to take a photo to document every day in August. I’m not going to pre-prepare or plan any of them. I’m not going to make pretty arrangements on the table or tidy up the snotty tissues or quickly wipe away the dog slobber on the wall. By the way, there are going to be no rules either. There will be some photos that will be a whole lot more scruffy than my Instagram photos, but there might also be some that are more arty; possibly even abstract. And although right now I’m planning on one photo every day, there are bound to be some when I forget, or others when I see more pictures I want to share. These are simply going to be moments of my life, be it pretty or not. There might even be the odd selfie – I don’t know at this point right now; but I will schedule this post so you don’t have to wait the whole month to see the results.
Addendum (now written on 1st September). Here is my August in black and white….
I have really enjoyed this little black and white photography project of mine and would definitely like to be a distinguished photographer when I grow up. A few of these photos may also crop up on my main Instagram account in colour, but I found it really interesting converting them all into monochrome. I haven’t focussed on black and white photography since my NVQ photography courses at college quite a few years ago, and I’m definitely out of practice. Recognising what will and won’t work in black and white is a skill that comes over time, and I didn’t always get it right here, but it was a lot of fun having a go. I haven’t yet decided (though I need to hurry up and do so considering the date) whether to continue this into September. I’m worried that it’s another of those things that I really want to do, but don’t really have the time for.
I like the idea of combining them with my ‘Monthly Memoir’ style posts I used to do in the Writing category two years ago and summing up my month again. I’ll have to leave it as an annoying We’ll see, like parents say to their kids when it’s unlikely but still a possibility! I had a lot going on in August and could take up more travel photography. We began it in Stamford in America, had a weekend exploring New York state and Connecticut; an evening in New York city; then a brief spell at home before the bank holiday weekend in Cornwall. Not every month is likely to be as eventful, but again, that gives me the challenge to get creative with my photography, which I like the idea of too! Well, please come back this time next month to see if I managed to keep it up or not!