Your best option is probably to shoot with standard colour film and scan the developed negatives (or transparencies) in colour as normal. You will then have the three (RGB) colour channels to play around with before you convert the image to monochrome. This will give you much more control than you would have with black and white film.
I am thinking at the moment of the possibility to take a black and white picture with a color film.
You can buy chromogenic black and white film. This is black and white film that can be developed using standard (C-41) colour processing. I have found the results with this to be rather flat, although you do get very little grain.
My goal is really to have a color film, handle it as a color film, and have a black and white picture in the end. I mean, having on the same negative some pictures being black and white and some pictures being color. I am trying to have somehow a “black and white filter” for my analog color film, the same way one would have a “black and white filter” on a digital camera.
If your goal is to do things the hard way just for your own enjoyment or to show off, then go for it. If your goal is to produce the best image you can, and if you don’t mind the fact that the process is much faster, cheaper, and better in every conceivable sense, use a digital image editor instead.
That’s a lot of work, with a lot of things that can easily go wrong. You’ve got at least three different development processes to deal with, registration issues, perhaps problems getting the exposure right for the two printing phases. You’re copying the image several times, which inevitably means some loss of quality. Even with extreme care in registering the masks on the image, it’s going to be very difficult to avoid getting a visible boundary between the color and black and white area. And the printing process doesn’t allow for a lot of subtlety. In the taxicab image, for example, there are some colored areas aside from the taxi itself — look at the turn signals on the other vehicles, the reflections in the wet street, the billboard. It’s going to be hard to create a set of masks that provides that.
Creating a Color Street Photo Using Only Black-and-White Film
About the author: Marius Hanzak is a final year photography student studying in the North East of England. You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
Take the photo with color film. Process the film normally. Make a black and white copy of the color negative. You’ll want the copy to also be a negative, so you’ll need a black and white positive image of the original negative, if you know what I mean.
Your options here probably depend on the film format you’re using, but could include black and white positive film, reverse processing, or just making a regular black and white copy and then copying that again.
Create a pair of complementary masks: one which reveals the area that you want to print in color, and another which reveals the area you want to print in black and white. Create some way to register each mask during printing.
Print using the color negative and color-revealing mask, and then again using the black and white negative and b&w-revealing mask.
EDIT: Some extra infos about my final goal, so that the question may be clearer. You may know Times Square black-and-white with yellow cabs photos. I am wondering how I could take such a photo using only film camera techniques, which means never digitize the image at any time. I was thinking about techniques to actually have the photo on a negative, or to post-process it and get the result at print time. For now, my best bet is to take a black and white and a color picture and to print them carefully.
In the darkroom, three enlargers were set up — one for each color. Making the tricolor prints involved tracing the projection of the first enlarger with a pencil onto paper, then using that sketch to the align the easels of the other two enlargers.
A quick search on the web did not yield any interesting results. Actually, at the moment, I am not even sure it is physically feasible. I know that there are many ways to achieve similar goal, but I am really wondering how feasible it is to mix black and white and color on the same film (no matter the result in the end and even if using dedicated films is better).
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Doing this in camera seems impossible. If you really want to do it with film, your process should be something like:
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This could be achieved using a single enlarger by exposing one color and then putting the paper away while you set up and align the next color. It can also be done digitally by scanning in the negatives and combining in Photoshop.
I know that one can develop a color film as a black and white film (with varying results), and also that one can take a color negative and print it black and white.
Tags: analog, b&w, blackandwhite, color, colorfromblackandwhite, experiment, film, mariushanzak, process, rgb
My name is Marius Hanzak, and I’m an experimental photography student currently studying at the Cleveland College of Art and Design in the UK. For one of my recent projects, titled RGB Church Street, I experimented with making color photos using black and white film.The method I used is essentially how color film works, which has a separate layer of emulsion sensitive to each color. This just separates the colors across three negatives using color separation filters.
In theory, you could try to put a Red, Green and Blue filter on the lens and take the picture that way (or Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow?). It won’t let much light through but it should stop every color from entering and the final image should be B&W… right? I am also interested in taking a B&W picture on color film, let me know if you found a solution. In the meantime, I might try this. Let me know what you think.
Each image requires 3 exposures on black and white film. One shot with a red filter, letting only red light through, one shot with a green filter, letting only green light through and one shot with a blue filter, letting only blue light through.
The filters were used with their corresponding negative under the enlarger lenses and exposed onto the paper. Adjusting the individual times for the red, green and blue exposures was all it took to get the colors right on the final prints.