Dave Kai-Piper (NSFW)

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Ideas and Images

What makes black and white photography so important to you?

Well, as someone who works with light – I see the everyday world in colour, the trees the sign posts the buses, everything is bright and bold. Everything competes for attention – the world can be a visually confusing place. These days creating black and white images can provide a little bit of simple in a complex world. Black and White has that – ‘artistic’ feel that seems to provide a more character based image. People look for the story rather than the ‘real world’ caught on paper.

When I shoot, I do tend to shoot RAW but all my cameras are set to Monochrome – if I shot film I think I would be a diehard Neopan 100 Acros user. Maybe I am backwards in shooting in Mono then converting to colour to see what it looked like in post. Shooting this way just lets me set the character and story of an image with out all the distractions of colour.

The other day I had a fantastic chat with John Bulmer about the times he first started to shoot with colour film – he was the first photographer to shoot colour for the Sunday Times Magazine in the UK, which was a big deal back then I can assure you ‘In 1965, Bulmer first photographed the north of England in colour, for the Sunday Times magazine. Colour photography was “a medium in which Bulmer was the British pioneer”, far ahead of such photographers as William Eggleston and Martin Parr.’ – So wikipedia says anyway. Either way, It was amazing to listen to his stories about how people perceive colour images and B&W – Monochrome still to this day being given the status of the choice for art based photography – Art Nude for example is still very much in Black and White – anything to do with a purposely given stylistic approach – will have a monochrome feeling – It is still very much the undertone of a ‘serious’ image.

A funny note though, linking back to how Monochrome is perceived – It was my grandad’s 90th birthday the other day and we went up as a family, guess who the photographer was… I spent the day shooting in Monochrome and of course, as these were photographs of family and important photographs for our family history I – as the artist, shot in Monochrome. My Grandad’s reply, could you not afford a colour roll ? Now, my grandad is pretty with it and knows I choose monochrome and do have the colour ones too, but his funny reply did make me think about how your generation also changes how you see black and white or colour photography.

What inspires you to create photographs?

I like to record things, I like to make interesting images to try and do something more with my life then just playing Call of Duty. The idea that I am moving forward to creating a body of work that I can leave behind me in nice, but I am so far behind doing what I want to be doing. These days I seem to be forever making plans then getting stuck in the day to day life and the bigger plans just get lost. Shooting photograph or creating an image once a week for me keeps me on that mental path that I have a direction in my life to. It reminds me that I am not just here to help other people with their dreams but I have my own too.

Monochrome or colour ? Not sure that is relevant here though, at the end of the day, creating things makes me happy, I would prefer to be happy and active than stuck behind a desk making other people’s dreams come true. Being able to earn a living with a camera is the most amazing thing – I wake up so happy – ‘most of the time’

Why is black and white photography so important to our future in the art world?

I guess it important is not the way I think of it – it is a just a medium or tool that we can choose to use if we wish to apply the esthetics of monochrome imagery to our own works. Use it, don’t use it it does not really bother me that much. I think you can be a successful art based photographer and never make a monochrome image in your life. Personally with nudity, as in some of my work, I think there is a perception, rightly or wrongly that images are less sexual in black and white – which is nonsense in my eyes, I do think that there is weight in the idea that monochrome photography is helpful to remove the viewer from the realism of the image though. The other thing is that many of today’s classic photographs are Black and White, this is more down to a technological thing more than an artistic choice – when we today, want to make something that looks classic in nature we imitate that in which we see as classic today. Shooting in a colour or lack of today is nothing more than a tool to fit a style in which we wish to associate out work with.

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