Monday, August 24, 2015

Black & White -- Are they colors?

by Terri

After our month of focusing on colors, I started thinking -- are black and white colors?  When I was a child, I remember my grandfather telling me that white was the absence of color and white was the presence of all color.  But when I went to research this, I found the following on Yahoo:

"It depends on whether you are thinking of light or pigments.

In light, black is the total absence of light, or absorption of all frequencies of light. while white is the presence of all frequencies of light. We tend to think of this as the RGB way of colors - mixing red, green and blue, you finish up with a whole range of colors, depending on the "intensity" of each color.

With pigments, black comes from mixing together all the different possible pigments, which is why print media (which usually go on white paper) use the KYCM (black, yellow, cyan and magenta) to get specific colors. Oh, there is a special pigment for white, if one is not using white paper.

So, are black and white 'colors'? Not really, but they are a major component in how we think of other colors."

I think that, as photographers, we see with light rather than pigments. Our last week of August Break will be focusing on the color white.  Is it a color?  You decide!


Cathy H. said...

Of course they're colors. They're in my crayon box!! :) This is gorgeous in black and white!

Carol said...

I read a little about this at one time because some of the (very serious) photoshop people in my photography forum meetings are sometimes asking about the use of "true black," as defined by the CMYK percentages. However, when I read about it, it seems there are many definitions of "true black," and lots of debate about it. It seems to be opinion based. Anyway, I decided that I don't care. Once the initial setup choice of which printer and ink you will use is made, I choose my blacks by what looks good for a particular image and the sliders make that pretty easy to play with without having an education on the number values. I treat black and white like any other color.

Anonymous said...

Great analogy on the subject of black and white! Your image is gorgeous and can't wait to see everyone's white photos! Thanks for sharing!

heyjudephotography said...

Technicallyy, no, but I agree with Cathy H. - they're in my crayon box, so they're a color - and I soo love white.

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