name. Louis Norman
right now. Studying Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh
These photos were all taken on a walk last Christmas. I normally only shoot the woods in colour, because it seems like a shame not to capture the richness and variety of different greens, browns, reds, and little bright flashes where wildflowers, berries or fungi are appearing among the undergrowth.
However, I wanted to try and examine the textures and forms of the trees, explore the ways in which they are ordered or disordered.
Colour immediately gives things a familiarity.
A fully colour-sighted person will automatically think about a strawberry with its red, or a fern with its green. And so when we approach a photograph in colour, we learn to read the colour as much as the form, and use it to organise the photograph into different compositional elements. The trunk of the tree being brown against the general green in the background, the new shoots being a lighter green than the old, the blue sky filled with pearly, sculptural clouds against the burnished copper of beech leaves.
But when you remove colour, and you’re left with tone and form, the composition becomes marginally less readable. Trees upon trees upon trees, all in black and white, appear denser and more chaotic. The cleft between the speared crowns of pine trees becomes starker, more cavernous, when it dominates the photo as a single form and there is no colour to draw the attention elsewhere.
I think on that particular walk, I felt a sense of unfamiliarity and dissociation that I couldn’t shake, and whether a conscious or unconscious choice, deciding to use a black and white roll of film resulted in having to re-appropriate my eye towards a familiar subject in an unfamiliar way.