Dump the Color

Say what? You read that right. Dump the color.

As photographers, we wallow in beautiful colors. We experience euphoria when a colorful sunrise or sunset smacks our retinas. We have a collective feeding frenzy as we feast our eyes and cameras on the evolving hues of the sky. Our quest for images is often driven by color more than shapes or contrast. We see in color and live in a beautifully colorful world so the instinct is natural.

So why am I telling you to dump the color? Since digital cameras hit the scene photographers are no longer thinking about the roll of film that’s in the camera. Film forced you to decide what to shoot. Color or black & white. Negative or slide film. 24 or 36 exposures. ISO 100, 200, 400, etc. A lot more thought was involved regarding what and how you were going to shoot.

You get the idea.

Digital has made us focus solely on color because the camera is able to provide both at once. But, you have to remember to choose it.

Black & white photography is an art in and of itself. A technique worth learning as it pushes you to consider contrast, light, shapes, and texture. It also removes innate bias to color which causes the viewer (and you) to dismiss an image.

Since we don’t see in black & white (well except at night, when our colorful world becomes shades of grey) we don’t think about creating an image devoid of color. Take a look at the masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, and the like. These folks created black & white masterpieces even though color film was available. They chose to create with black & white film. Kodak created a color film around 1915 so it has been around for over 100 years.

Black & white post-processing allows greater artistic license. You can push the extremes on an image. There is no right or wrong in black & white imagery. This is very different than color photography where a heavy hand can make an image dreadful.

What are your thoughts on black & white photography? Have you incorporated black & white in your work? If not, what is stopping you? Let’s hear it in the comments or drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it.

#art #photographer #photo #photography #experience #blackandwhite #passion #inspiration

© Silvana Della Camera

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