When I first saw the Black and White challenge knocking about online my first reaction was to challenge it. I didn't know who made it up, shared it around and I began to see it pop up everywhere. Following a handful of passing conversations with Sam Laughlin, someone who shoots nothing but Black and White our responses seemed to match. How is it a challenge or a commodity to shoot black and white, when Sam, as put it 'does this shit everyday'.
I was fully aware of the social implications of this challenge and it is a bit of fun, but it was only when an ex tutor and then a handful of really decent photographers began to do it I started to scratch my head. My initial interpretation of the challenge was people taking pictures, one a day, and that was the challenge. To look for an interesting image that would fit the black and white aesthetic. As we all know not all pictures work in that technique, shall we say. But that was the opposite of what was happening. People were digging through the archives looking for a picture a day, that they took in black and white. I wasn't sure where the challenge was.
Thinking over it, its fascinating how these trends pass through the facebook pages of everyone we know to the point where everyone knew what the challenge was but didn't need to talk about it. When I was nominated it was a great chance to really explore exactly what it really stood for, nothing. It was just something to keep us occupied. It had nothing to do with Ilford film stocks or the develop, stop and fix process. It literally meant nothing.
I set out, after a bit of deliberation between Sam, who was convinced I shouldn't do it, I set a photoshop file with a 6x7 ratio as this is how I shoot most of my photographs. The results were a gradient gradually going from black to white. Recalling on the best reactions I had, one from my sister saying 'I can't see it'. I found this well funny. And another comment from Pietro Motisi saying 'I love you'.
It certainly did occupy me for about 10minutes a day.