Colour on the Street

Having started to work on my street photography four years ago now, I discovered with it the joy of monochrome; the black and white images so often associated with this genre’ are celebrate by professional, enthusiast and amateur image-makers alike and wit good reason.  The sense of the dramatic, the contrast, the simplicity of the image, a meeting of design and delivery that causes the mono image to stand out.  I photography in this form and my output is probably 90%+ b&w, either from camera or post-capture process.

However, I still enjoy the use of colour and two specific colour processes in particular.  From Fujifilm comes their ‘Classic Chrome’ offering.  I have this on my new X-30 and love it’s understated presentation of colour, as it attempts to offer a tonal range suitable to street and candid photography.  It’s very nice actually and I will use it when I take the X30 out with me. However and oddly enough given the cash I have spent on Lightroom and Elements for post processing work, my favorite ‘colouring’ is actually found on the free-to-use Google ‘Picasa’ photo-editing suit.  This is called ‘Cross Process’ and mimics in its colouring, the photo labs of the post-war period which would sometimes use developing chemicals intended for other types of film to produce this effect, so colour chemicals used on B&W film for example, hence the term ‘cross-process’.  Using it now serves to produce that very muted colouring of images evocative – in my eyes at least – of the pictures from ‘Life’ magazine in the 60’s and much else.

Anyway this image is one I made recently on a shoot in my local market hall in Colne, Lancashire. I was looking for potential images and saw this man walk into the hall, mobile phone in hand and seemingly oblivious to what was going on around him; maybe he was alone like me, or maybe was following his wife on a shopping trip more interesting to her than to him…. who knows?         I like the mixture of man and textiles and the colour, especially of the Union flags, and thought right away that this would better suit a colour image.  I think the camera was actually set on Fuji ‘Provia’ but once back home I converted this to a more ‘cross process’ look and very much like the documentary feel of the image.

I have made something of a small album of images from the market  From a social documentation viewpoint, the way things are shaping, the market won’t exist in another decade’s time so capturing some images now is I think quite important. Colour and mono will sit side-by-side, holding images that will stand as a record of another vanishing element of Britain.


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