Black and White From the Start

March 15, 2017


Black and White photography has a gravitational pull on my artistic eye.  It is the classic form of photography, the original, and regardless if a photographer ever shoots/processes in monochrome there is often an appreciation for those whose photographic options were limited to the black and white format. My reasoning for liking old black and white images has a lot to do with the great contrast and film grain seen in images shot by the likes of Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, and more recently discovered Vivian Maier. Why I choose to edit images in black and white varies.


Though I love black and white images, sometimes to the point of wanting to edit an entire set in the fashion, I would sometimes do so due to the fact I'm colorblind.  People will often quiz me on colors, "What color is this?  What color is that?" and when I would get most all of the colors correct they would believe I was fibbing. However, blend certain colors together in certain lighting and it would sometimes become a challenge for me to discern what truly looked accurate on my computer monitor.  A lot of that had to do with me learning photo processing software and not overdoing an image to the point I couldn't correct it without starting over. That frustration in my earlier days of shooting and processing often lead me to converting an image to black and white to avoid the whole color processing.


I'm always willing to learn but I've gotten to a point where I better understand color editing a natural looking image to my liking.  Yet, there is still a draw to convert my pictures to the colorless image that sometimes tells the most colorful story.  I have a great admiration for present day photographers who still shoot a great majority of their images in black and white, like my friend James Rice.  James once shared the opinion that pictures often look less cluttered without the distraction of random items in an image when shot in color.  After spending time with my camera set to take monochrome images I would have to agree. Rather than post-processing the included images to black and white, I sat on a street corner seeing them as I shot them in their colorless colorful form, and I liked it.

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