Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. ~Albert Einstein
I have a confession to make…when I found out that this month’s FOL theme was black and white, I wasn’t all that excited. Because to be honest, black and white photography has never been my favorite. You see, I am a color girl. I love color. I love living with and being around color. I invite color into my world with my gardens and the choices I make in my home decor. I like wearing color. I love colorful food….yes indeed, color makes me happy.
Well, I did a little bit of research about color, and as it turns out, there is a whole field of study regarding the psychology of color. According to psychology.about.com:
‘Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a powerful tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions. Certain colors can raise blood pressure, increase metabolism, or cause eyestrain.’So now when you think about how color pertains to photography and then you go and remove this emotional connection to a photo through color, you then are able to see the photo more subjectively. Which I think is exactly the point black and white photography…the subject.
I know for myself, whenever I am shooting a subject, knowing in the back of my mind that it will be in black and white, it forces me to slow down and be more mindful of my composition. Truly, shooting in black and white is a great exercise for practicing some of the basic compositional concepts such as line and shape, and texture and repetition.
The other cool thing about black and white photography is that without the distraction of color, subtle details almost seem to come alive.
In preparing photos for this blog post, I found that light and shadow were key in defining shapes and bringing out details. The contrast between the lights and darks – the tonality – really makes a black and white photo stand out.
And surprisingly, to me anyway, I also found that black and white portraits can particularly beautiful in a raw, honest kind of way. Without the distraction of hair and eye color or the tones in the background, the personality of the subject shines through and you can really get a sense of who they are.
Finally, black and white photos seem to tell a story from a different perspective…free of the emotional connections we all have to color. I think that's what I am learning to love in black and white images...the freedom...the simplicity. Something I know I could use a little more of in my own life and have enjoyed pursuing in black and white.
So tell us…what do you enjoy about black and white photography? What do you look for when shooting in black and white? And please continue sharing your beautiful images in our FOL Flickr group.
All the best, Kelly