Monolumpur, part III: Robin’s take

When I started street photography, I gravitated towards black and white. It’s not difficult to figure out why, when you look at famous and successful street photographs from legends such as Henri Cartier-Bresson as nearly all prominent street photography is presented in monochrome. As I slowly developed my own style and vision I found myself drawn towards color photography as it more effectively represents the reality I capture. Nonetheless, the love for black and white has always been there and sometimes, I find it liberating to strip all colors away and go straight to the core of the image – the idea, the message or the emotion.

When I shoot in black and white, I compose in black and white by enabling live view simulation. This helps in preventing myself from processing information derived from colors – which can be distracting and subsequently become inconsequential. Working with the harsh morning sun, I like to play with high contrast for more drama. For this set, I minimized my gear setup to one camera and lens, the Olympus PEN E-P5 and M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens. Minimal gear allowed me the freedom to compose my shots more fluidly. Images were processed to maintain the high contrast look which works well for this kind of dramatic directional light.

This was a much needed break from my usual play with bold and explosive colors in my street photography!


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  1. This was awesome, thanks!

  2. Kristian Wannebo says:

    I think I appreciate your B/W Photos even more than your colour photos!
    To my eyes the composition comes more into the foreground.

    And I like the humorous undertone in #3 & #7!

    At the moment #4 is my favourite, just lovely!!

  3. A nice set and a good contrast with Ming’s work. And taken using a camera and lens combination that can be picked up for around GBP 400 here in the UK. The E-P5 and 25mm f1.8 remains my grab and go camera, when the weather is good.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks! Photography does not have to be expensive. It is not about what we shoot with or how we shoot, but what we shoot that matters!

  4. Really captivating images Robin. I’m a fan of your colour street work but would be great to see more of your B&W street. Some highlights for me: number 5 (framing of man with hat), 6 (roof lines), 8 (man caught in a sliver of light), 9 (building shadows, texture and tree) and last but not least 2 (man walking towards bus). This last one really does something for me and I don’t really know why: 3D fee maybe. All in all, great use of early morning light, high contrast and gradients. Inspiring! And all without a viewfinder it seems.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks Richard! Great light always works wonders. Yeap, no viewfinder in this case .I am going minimalist these days as much as I can. One camera, one lens, that’s it. Go out and shoot more! Complain and worry less.

  5. A fantastic portfolio and collection of images – and of moments-in-time viewing the world through your lens, Robin. They say a good image is worth a thousand words – but I know that even if I wrote many thousands of words, I wouldn’t come close to the multiple feelings…that seeing these images…has left me with.


  1. […] Wong, a photographer in Malaysia, recently wrote some thoughts on monochrome. He wrote, “I find it liberating to strip all colors away and go straight to the core of the […]

  2. […] Monolumpur, part III: Robin’s take * […]

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