It's High Time I Confess My Love For Sepia

Street photography by Craig Boehman.


Near Juhu Jetty, before sunrise. Mumbai, India. December 5, 2020.


I have to admit out loud, I think I'm a closet Sepiaphile. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I prefer sepia tone to black-and-white whenever black-and-white is a viable option. Naturally, there are exceptions. Always will be - even for my love for sepia. But I have to say that there's something about the warmth that I find appealing, a trait that you'll strain to find in a similarly-converted black-and-white image. This isn't to say that black-and-white seems cool or cold to me - that's not how it works. Maybe it's because no one takes it seriously or that there's not a lot of sepia-processed images out there as part of some big Instagram trend (unless I already missed it - which is a possibility!).


I used to look at sepia tone images and think that the effect made the images look old because this has been my only real-life reference. All those old West photos were usually sepia-toned, after all. The process was in wide use back then. [ read more about this fascinating history here: https://bit.ly/36HaIVO ].


These days, when I look at the scant few images that I've bothered to process in sepia, I don't think of old images or of trying to make the picture look old or classic. If I make a sepia-toned image, I do it because I think it looks better than a straight-up black-and-white conversion.


By the way, back to the image! During the winter months in Mumbai, there is usually a small fire going somewhere nearby to the Jetty at Juhu, as it's called. I decided to take a picture of these two gentlemen in profile fashion as a candid shot because I didn't want to ruin the integrity of the scene. And I think sepia makes it a little more beautiful to look at.

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