The joy of sepia
While Brighton was great for highly-coloured night shots by the pier, a couple of photographs lent themselves perfectly for conversion to sepia – a tinted black and white which I’ve found works really well for misty or hazy conditions.
This first shot of the derelict West Pier has a quality which simply didn’t show in colour or black and white.
Just to the right of this shot, the story was very different – throngs of people milling on the pebbled beach, enjoying an unusually sunny and warm March afternoon. There was a blanket of haze lying on the resort that day, giving the photograph below a muzzy, faint quality – perfect for a touch of sepia.
What’s your take on sepia? Does it have a place in modern photography or should it be consigned to stilted portraits from a byone age?…
It works here because (as msbriggsy alludes to above) your subject matter is distant and no obvious “anachronisms”, therefore the subject matter matches or rather doesn’t undermine the medium and you can take full effect as you have done of the atmospheric side of early photography. to the modern eye of course there is something also mournful about sepia – given its place in history we have a knowledge that a lot of the people, social order / way of life was about to be blown away forever – bittersweet and beautiful and hence why it doesn’t work when someone is wearing a swatch watch.
It’s lucky that the figures are all very distant because their attire would definitely give the game away – much like the Swatch watch would.
Yes, I wondered about the arches too! If the figures weren’t so hazy, that would give away how recent they are too. Sometimes sepia goes very wrong – too much of a purply tinge. Best used for the right moment.
What I love about these shots is that they could have been taken at any point during the last 100 years. They’re timeless. It’s only the burned ruins of Brighton Pier that lets the viewer date the image. The second photo really looks like a vintage shot, and at first glace I thought McDonalds golden arches were in the frame, which was an unexpected ‘jolt’ back to 2012!