Or in other words… imagine a world of black and white and everything in between. For about 100 years photography and photographers lived in this world. And then things changed… and I am a little sad that it did change for most people. Color. The sparkling object that draws everyone’s attention. But the most famous and the most loved and the most collected and the most admired… and the “venue” to choose if you want to appear really cool and sophisticated is … drum roll please… black and white photography… hands down winner. I love it. But not all photographs that are black and white are “good photography”. Heavens no! Black and white photography has to live up to a much higher bar than color photography. That is my opinion.. so don’t be rushing on over to the Google in order to check that opinion. Nope.. it is just mine but let me blah blah for a bit and hopefully you will come around to my side of the argument. Black and white photography has to dance. Rarely is it flashy but it has to have rhythm and grace. And of course the subject matter has to be as interesting as a color shot and well composed … but that goes without saying.
When I say it must dance… this is what I mean. There must be a balance of contrasts… and the scene has to be portrayed in a symphony of notes… from pure white… all the way to black as night. And even the pure white shouldn’t be pure pure white.. nope… it should carry an insy bit of tone. Tough to do. Just stare at a Ansel Adams print and count the number of tones. Amazing. So what is a person to do today when almost everything we photograph is shot in color? Well… if you really are interested in the beauty of black and white … you have to experiment. Very few of us humans can look at a scene and mentally change it to black and white. So… shoot it… and then later experiment with it by processing it into a black and white photograph. And of course… this experiment is applicable to the simple camera photos as well as you 2 billion people out there with an iPhone. As they say… “there is an App for that”. Instead of over analyzing a few of my black and white photographs… I am just going to show a bunch. Take a peek at them and send me a note to say which were more successful as a black and white “print”. Remember… don’t be too swayed by the subject matter.. but look at them as colorful little symphonies of rhythm…. in black and white.
There you have it. And just in case you were wondering… the answer is no… I rarely can see how nice a color photograph will transfer to black and white. Some have been nice and others have been discarded because they just didn’t meet my criteria. So… you do the same… take a few of your favorite things and turn them into black and white.. and I bet you will see them differently from now on.
Until next time… shoot!!!!
Hope you have enjoyed this little trip into the world without color… and as always… any questions… fire away!
PS… you learn something everyday… or maybe it is just me… but I accidentally learned that if you click on any of the hundreds of photographs in my posts… they enlarge!!!!