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Black and White and Everything In-between

As I mentioned in the previous post, I prefer black and white photos, especially high contrast black and white. But as I continue down the path of revisiting my photo archives, it turns out I prefer black and white and everything in-between. All the colors, from pure black and all the grays to pure white.

I am drawn to contrasty scenes.

And I am drawn to scenes with very little or no contrast. I love fog and cloudy, misty days.

I love bright sunshine, especially when the sun is low in the sky and produces amazing shadows.

When I photographed with film, I preferred black and white film. I photographed in color too, but most of my film was black and white in all the ISOs. I mean, just how grainy is ISO 3200? Turns out, it’s really grainy.

Maybe that’s how it started, or maybe I’m just odd, but when I have my camera in my hand, I see a scene with all the light and shadows and color, but in my mind’s eye, I also see it in black and white. This is a more recent revelation and I find it interesting. Interesting because one, I noticed it and b, because I like color. I like color photographs. I like the purple wall in my living room. My favorite sweater is bright pink. But in photography, I prefer black and white and all the grays in-between.

I mentioned to a friend recently that every photo I process gets a black and white conversion. It may not stay that way, but I always check. I look for the pop. I have to know…does it pop in black and white? Then black and white it is. Does it pop in color? Then color it is. And sometimes, I already know that an image is destined for black and white.

I don’t know how I know this. Perhaps I know that the color is distracting or subconsciously I wanted to emphasize form, texture, shape or an emotion or mood. I don’t really know how I know, but now that I know I don’t always know I’m going to try to know how I know. My biggest weakness in photography is not slowing down. I keep telling myself I’m going to slow down, gauge a scene, get a feel for the scene. Maybe I need to rephrase that and ask myself, “What do I know? How do I know?”

I have been revisiting some older photos and re-processing them. I’ve also made some new ones and processing them with a different point of view. It’s been fun and revealing. Black and white and everything in-between it is. I created a new gallery called white and black which is woefully incomplete, but it’s a start.


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