Story :: Ghost in the café

Rue Montorgueil © 2019 Jerry Yang

It’s said that B&W photographers see things in B&W, or more correctly in luminosity. This saying, however, does not help at all as people who do not see things in B&W still won’t know what it means to see things in B&W.

Contrast in luminosity, however, is easy to recognize for even the non-B&W photographers. In a normal-lighting street scene, there will always be dark backgrounds and highlighted subjects. Recognizing these and you have a potential winner in B&W as the pictures give a “pop” by default.

In the photo above, one can see that even though my focus with Noctilux was on the customers of the café on the roadside, the out-of-focus waiter in the background “popped” out strongly and accented the photo in a humorous way. This is a quite common contrast one can find in the cafés in Paris as the waiters are usually in white uniforms while 2-3 steps into the terrasse the luminosity drops so much for the camera sensors that it will be easily seen as a dark background.

That said, I chose not to focus on the waiter as that’s too easily done. Instead the nonchalant customers in the “front row” here are in focus, while the white ghost lurk in the background.

I like the result.