Which do you prefer? Black & White or Color? Why? This is an ongoing discussion among photographers of all levels and the best answer I have ever heard is this: Which would you hang on your wall and live with every day? There are a few color photographs that I could live with day in and day out, but there are many black and white images that I’d be happy to see each day. Why? I think there is an intimacy and quiet that exudes from a good black and white photograph that allows the viewer to rest in the image. It invites you to stay for a while not by blaring color and clamoring for your attention, but by its essence and structure, dignity even. Good color photographs have all these qualities of course. But what makes the difference?
I am a firm believer in color photography as fine art (I’m not a black & white elitist), and I most often choose to work in color. So as an exercise I developed these images in both to see if there was a clear favorite. The processing is very different, but retaining the qualities of luminosity and subtlety were my guides for both. I’d be delighted to have you join the conversation.
I am also trying to expand my abilities by choosing to photograph people. I don’t often do this unless there happens to be a rider on a horse. As I am leaving for the Czech Republic in November to continue my work on a personal project I thought it would be a good idea to spend the next couple of weeks photographing as many people as possible. I am nervous about this self-assignment, but determined to master the fear and settle in to make the best images I can. I’ll process those images in color and black and white. It will be interesting to see which has the most impact….but quiet impact with, I hope, a timeless message.
before photoshop, which images drew you and why? i have always liked b&w. it is simply my aesthetic. it is how i see. i don’t really understand color. once in san miguel, a friend saw me photographing orchids with b&w film and was aghast. he thought i was crazy. it never occurred to me to use color film. mary ellen mark once addressed this at a talk by saying that in her opinion, color photographs see the color first, and b&w see the subject. this would explain why i don’t use color very often! it baffles me, and i usually correct it improperly.
as you say, we photograph as we are. b&w is my choice.
travel in peace. can’t wait to see your project.