Friday 29 November 2019

Mono Rules

In a week when the weather in England has been uncompromisingly grey, and the political situation with an election in the offing is far from black and white, I've been wandering back through some pictures from the last year and wondering if any would look better in monochrome.

In the same way that people say they prefer listening to the radio because "the pictures are better" so sometimes the colours are better on mono shots where you have the freedom to imagine the colours.

So imagine away on this fine example of farmyard architecture!

This was Seth Lakeman and his band at the Folk By The Oak festival last summer playing their distinctive brand of folk-rock.

Frank Turner sings some gritty songs so I thought this treatment was appropriate.

The spooky ruined church at Wiggenhall St Peter out in the Fens.

The path home one day last week.

Old stuff for sale at an agricultural show.

A quiet scene at Lakenheath RSPB bird reserve in Suffolk.

And the receding rear-light of just one of Cambridge's thousands of cyclists.

For this week's Music on a Friday we're going back to a guitarist who made his name back in the days when music was mostly in mono too. The Yardbirds had three great guitarists in their line-up in the 1960s. But we're not talking about Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page here but the other one, Jeff Beck.

Beck had a rather haphazard approach to his musical career and a degree of perfectionism that drove those around him crazy. Much against the odds he continues making music, releasing his latest CD when he was just 72 years young. On this video, from Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, he's playing a Stevie Wonder composition and demonstrating his mastery of the electric guitar, shaping each note with the "whammy bar" and the volume control. He's accompanied here by another guitar great the 21-year-old Tal Wilkenfeld on bass. The facial expressions of the musicians during and just after her solo are priceless....

(Thanks to Robin Andrea at The New Dharma Bums for suggesting having a bit of music each Friday)

Take care.


  1. I love these black and white photos. I just started experimenting the other day with the Photo program on my computer, and it does a surprisingly good job at turning photos into black and white. It was lovely to look at your photos and listen to this song.

  2. It would be wonderful if the political situation here and all of the problems around the world could become black and white at the flick of a switch, and turn agreeable, just like your photos.

  3. Jeff Beck, a master guitarist. Great choice and a wonderful series of black and white photos.

  4. She was so awesome. Watching her fingers move! Lots of talent there.

    The b/w photos give the whole scene a new meaning.

  5. These do work well in black and white.

  6. Some of those look really good in b&w.

  7. It is great to see people appreciate and enjoy each other’s work like that.

    Good choices for the b&w.

  8. Love what you've done with those shots, John. So - there's more to Jeff Beck than 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' then?

  9. The textures stand out so well when the color is removed! Wonderful B&W's. Nice balance of light to dark.

  10. Hi John - that was fabulous to listen to ... let alone watch, and as you say their reactions say it all - amazing youngster. Loved it. Also the photos - so interesting to see them in B+W ... just glad the sun finally came out yesterday! Excellent last photo ... cheers Hilary

  11. I always enjoy watching b&w photos. And I love that red rear-light in the last photo, nice accent.

  12. I'm a big fan of black and white photography John, extraordinary range of tones in your images here, love the sepia image so much. Jeff Beck amaaaazing! Young Tal, a huge talent 💜


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