Friday, February 24, 2012

It's All Right There in Black and White


I crave color...bright and vibrant color!  One would be correct in calling me a coloraholic.  But sometimes a photograph just screams black and white to me.  In this photo long eyelashes, a scattering of freckles and wispy hair is brought front and center in black and white. 


This photo was taken in direct midday sun so the exposure was not ideal.  However, when I 
started to play around with processing and stripped away the color I found these amazing 
silhouettes just begging for the spotlight.  The dark darks and blown out brights made for a perfect black and white.


This is another one where I was shooting into the sun.  I knew as soon as I shot it that I could really emphasize her silhouette and the backlight on her hair with a black and white treatment.  This one has a bit of a sepia tone to it to create some warmth.  A colorless photo forces the viewer to focus on what's happening in the photograph.  I find that sometimes I have a stronger emotional connection to a black and white photo.  An image screams black and white to me when there is a good mix of bright midtones, dark darks and texture.  Compared to colorful photos where bright colors help the subject to stand out, in black-and-white photography the ability to stand out depends only on its ability to communicate emotion rather than on its appealing visual presentation.  

So how about you?  How do you chose whether an image gets the black and white treatment or not?  We would love to see some of your beautiful black and whites in our Flickr Pool!



 

 

15 comments:

Dotti said...

Love your photos! And, yes, the black and white intensifies these images. Black and white. This is always a struggle for me because I love color, too. All kinds, bright, vibrant, muted, soft. But every now and then I get the notion that something should be black and white. It's too early in the morning to dig into my mental archive but I'll be back later today to post a B&W image. Thanks for the challenge, Leigh!

AFishGirl said...

Ah, good one, good one. In one of the books I read (which one I couldn't tell you) the author said to consider if the colour enhanced the photograph. Was it necessary? Remove it and look at the photo. Stronger or lessened? I've started more and more to at least have a look at the shots I like by switching them to B&W and evaluating the change. The thing now I find a challenge is how many varations of B&W there are. I use RadLab a lot and I think I have about 10 (?) B&W presets, all very different. Great post, Leigh.

Deanna said...

Great post, Leigh...especially at this time of the year when color is at it's lowest point at least here in the Midwest. I love a good b&w photo, and you are right in saying it has a way of communicating emotion. I have a rather difficult time with b&w, choosing to take away any and all color has always been difficult for this color-minded person. But with this encouragement I am going to consciously give it a try. Thanks for this reminder.

Alison Bents said...

Agreed, agreed. And well said! I've always loved that shot of her hanging in the sunlight. Even with the b&w it looks warm and light. Love it!

susan said...

Always a fan of b/w, sepia and most monotone photography...adore your images! Happy Friday Leigh!

leighlovedesign said...

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the various ways to process and image in b&w. I like the idea of asking whether the color enhances the photograph or is necessary.

leighlovedesign said...

Thank you Alison!

Dotti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Harvey Cox said...

These are lovely photographs. I love black and white photos, and sometimes I think that the details are more vivid in black and white. Sepia is another faborite.
Karen

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Morning Leigh,
I love BnW and sepia -- it focuses on the subject or negative space so well.

Nice shots.
Claudia

Linda said...

Oh those lashes and freckles!
I am also a "coloraholic" but I am definately appreciating B&W more. I love the feelings that B&W can evoke.

Jeanine and Emily said...

I love B&W photography. EsPecially portraits. Recently my partner told me he doesn't really like B&W photos. I haven't yet told him I'm taking Tracey Clark's B&W course in May! Ha! Great shots. I'm really enjoying the blog.

Cathy H. said...

Oh, these are lovely in B&W!!! I haven't played with B&W very much, but these shots make me want to try it more often!! I'm with Jeanine, I can't wait to take Tracey's class and learn more!!

stephmull said...

What awesome shots, Leigh! Love the one of your son! Often when I shoot into the sun, I forget about black and white because I want to retain the warm glow that often results, but this is a great reminder! I'm going to be looking for some more black and white shots over the next couple of days.

terriporter said...

I know what you mean about being addicted to color. I have a hard time converting things to black and white and need to try it more. I always love it on other people's photos. The one of your son just melts my heart! So much more emotion is conveyed in the black and white. I'm taking Tracey's class too so I'm happy to know I'll have some very good company there!

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