Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Black and White Image...

   I saw this quote recently and it really seemed to express what I've always felt about the black and white photograph.  It also reminded me of something I use to do with my students...I read them stories from books with no pictures...GASP!

   Now, I love the beautiful illustrations is children's books, I really do, but when I child hears a story and sees the artist's interpretation of it then that is the image that sticks in their minds.  I tried a little experiment one time.  I read the children a short story from a lovely illustrated book.  When I asked them to draw their favorite part, the children used imagery they were shown.  When I read them a story with no accompanying illustrations and repeated the request, the drawings were wonderfully two were the same.

Sheep, Late Afternoon
   I think this is what the author, it didn't say who, meant by this quote.  The black and white image leaves something to the imagination, like books with no illustrations.  But black and white images go a bit further than that.  There is stillness, an elegance, a subtle sophisticated tenor to a monochrome image, regardless of the subject matter.

   Take this image of a sheep for instance. Totally ordinary subject but when photographed in black and white it becomes another thing altogether.  More ethereal and timeless, a study of light and texture.  Not baaaad for a simple photograph of a sheep.  (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

   Let's face it, some things just look better in black and white.  I do believe I've mentioned this before but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves.  Always photograph in color and desaturated with your photo editing software. There are many technical reasons for doing it this way but a very nontechnical reason is why not have both color and black and white versions of the scene?  Makes no sense not too.  Back in the film days you had to choose but now, with the wonders of digital technology, there is no need to.

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