Why Acros Art?
So, I hear you ask what is Acros Art exactly?
Let me explain. For those of us who grew up as children using film, because that’s all we had, we became used to the concept of Film stocks having their own colour temperature and characteristics which although taken from an industry standard colour rendering index, film still behaved differently from manufacturer to manufacturer and even between different film stocks from the same manufacturer. Both Kodak and Fujifilm had their own preferences that greatly differed, which had the effect of putting various photographers into different film-stock camps. You found yourself in either the Fujifilm camp or the Kodak, Agfa or Iflord gang. Whatever suited your preference, or the magazine picture-editor you were working for.
Most children who grew up taking photographs with B&W film, usually couldn’t afford to have the film-stock developed by a processor so they did it themselves. As I did. As B&W was by far the cheapest film to use, that was what we all used to learn our photography, and importantly exactly how the “Art of Composition” worked. Because film was so expensive it was inadvisable to waste it taking pictures that didn’t “work”. So the “Art of Composition” became a necessary process to learn. As B&W photography was the order of the day, we soon learned how to make B&W photographs “work”. Also during part of that learning process we also discovered that it was much easier to get a colour photograph to work than it was to get a B&W photograph to work. It seemed colour offered the viewer’s eye unnecessary distractions that did not exist in a B&W photograph. B&W photography relied solely on the merit of the “Art of Composition” and contrast to work without colour being able to offer the viewer’s eye any other unnecessary distractions.
In the digital age, as we speak, only Fujifilm offer true Film simulation in their cameras. Which offer a true representation of their film stocks, of old. Nikon cameras offer a similar technique but compared to Fujifilm it’s a very half-hearted attempt. Adobe Photoshop offers film simulation techniques too, but very few true photographers actually use Photoshop. Because Photoshop is not photography. It’s Photoshop Fakery. Photoshop is for people who work in Advertising Agencies or Studios and use composites to build an advertising image for use in… well advertising.
Which brings us to Acros, which is Fujifilm’s celebrated B&W film-stock and their digital cameras offer it as a true film simulation. Although very few people can actually use it to its full potential. Simply because very few photographers have been forced to learn the “Art of Composition” with B&W film. B&W photography requires a totally different mind-set to colour photography. Although it is possible to desaturate a colour photograph to greyscale, it is not always a given that it will “work”. Unless it was intended to be B&W in the first place. If you’re intending to work strictly in B&W it’s necessary to have an “Acros State of Mind” whilst composing with your “Art of Composition” even if you’re photographing in colour.
None of my photographs are doctored. That is to say Photoshop is not part of my technique. The only techniques I use are the very same as I would be able to offer using film and an enlarger whilst developing the film myself. Those techniques would be cropping and exposure balance, only. I do not use any other techniques. I’m too lazy. All of my photographs rely solely on an “Acros State of Mind” which is thinking in B&W whilst composing with the “Art of Composition” in order for the picture to “work” and come straight from the camera, to you.
Also, and something which is very important, colour photographs just do not sell. For a modern recently taken photograph to be considered as “Art” it almost certainly has to be in B&W. I’ve tried colour, believe me, I’ve tried. But if you want to be in the fine art photography business, it has to be B&W. Otherwise it will just sit there looking pretty, but it just won’t sell. Photography connoisseurs who buy fine art photography, are reluctant to buy photographs that were originally in colour and later desaturated. So it has to be photographed originally in B&W and for me that means Acros. Because the buyers know just how difficult it is to get a B&W photograph to “work” they insist on the original being in B&W only. And, probably because many of our most famous photographers in the last few decades all photographed using B&W. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Richard Avedon, Vivian Maier, Man Ray and his protege Lee Miller, David Bailey and so many more all became very famous using little more than a trusty Leica or a Rollieflex and B&W film. Even though colour film-stock was readily avaiable. Needless to say, I no longer photograph in colour.