Black & White or Colour : B+W / Color
Do you want to pack black and white film or colour film today?
The Strengths of Black and White:
Black and White is great for emphasising form, shape and texture. Its well known that to describe elegence of form or interesting textures, black and white does a superb job.
Sometimes you have to make the descion based on the concept and emotion, rather than just the subject. Is it moody, miserbale or timeless and still?
Another good example is architecture. Here you are concentrating on the shape of the building, and it will probably be more powerful in black and white. Removing the colour means that the viewer is concentrating on the form and detail, and that is all. The same goes for portraiture.
The Strenghts of Colour/Color:
Colour photography is like another subject. We see the world in colour so you could argue that we can relate better with colour photography and that black and white photograph puts us at a distance in which the photograph becomes a relic. for exmaple, modern snapshot style photography is in colour.
You may photograph something ordinary and banal and decide not to give it black and white status. Black and White is now old fashioned – you have to choose to use black and white now. Some photo shops won’t do your black and white films now. More people are using colour now.
I tend to only use colour when I am photographing something colourful. Sounds a little odd perhaps? It is as if, by photographing something, I am saying that the subject is of importance, or worth telling the world about. It doesn’t have to be St Pauls Cathedral, it can be a chair. However, you decide the method which best to emphasis the particular qualities of that subject.
It may be worth asking youself why you are choosing that method and then it will become clearer. Or, shoot it with both and decide later!
Heres an example of some photographers that only use black and white, and to make it interesting, Two are incredibly famous and that you would find in your text book and two are people I’ve never heard of that I came across randomly.
Bernd and Hilla Beche (very well known and historical)
Ansel Adams (likewise)
All the best,
Dan LarssonExplore posts in the same categories: Film comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.