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Subject: I'm Still Learning

Category: Street Photography Discussion

Posted: 04-10-13 12:46 AM

By: Jim Craig

I have a question. I am new to photography and have a lot to learn. Why is there so much interest in the Black and White photos? Is it more difficult to shoot? More artistic value? For me color adds life and action. I am sure my pictures are packed with too much action but I want to learn to capture the "action" of a moment and then learn how to not over do it.

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Reply from J T on 05-21-13 8:52 PM

[quote]glenn charles wrote:
JT:
I am glad there is a place for B&W street photographers to hang out.
You asked for comments on this photo of the girl with the cigarettes - whether B&W or color works better in shot.
A general comment on B&W street photography.
One of the ethical issues with B&W street photography, I think, is the manipulation of the viewer by the photographer due to his/her removing from the picture those clues that help the viewer to understand what objects are really significant. Emotion comes from the colors in the scene. Object identification also comes from colors.
In the Color shot the green shamrocks draw attention the green eyes, and so does the green bench. There is some humor in the look. The blue blankets and the blue shirt are peaceful colors and are a pleasing complement to the color tones in the face.
In the B&W the focus is on the three cigarettes, Her hair seems to be black, which together with the bandana makes her seem foreign, whereas in the color shot her hair is brown - so perhaps a Westerner celebrating St. Patricks day in the USA?
So, you see, that the picture has raised questions, which is good.
The B&W has removed her from the West to the East (in my mind) Was this the intention?

The red buggy is a compositional problem in the color shot - this could have been solved by moving left a little.

[/quote]

Genn,

The main reason for my B&W was for a more dramatic effect. I think it gives it a grungier look and emphasis on hands and finger nails stand out much better. However, I do see where yu are coming from.

Reply from Glenn on 05-20-13 6:57 AM

JT:
I am glad there is a place for B&W street photographers to hang out.
You asked for comments on this photo of the girl with the cigarettes - whether B&W or color works better in shot.
A general comment on B&W street photography.
One of the ethical issues with B&W street photography, I think, is the manipulation of the viewer by the photographer due to his/her removing from the picture those clues that help the viewer to understand what objects are really significant. Emotion comes from the colors in the scene. Object identification also comes from colors.
In the Color shot the green shamrocks draw attention the green eyes, and so does the green bench. There is some humor in the look. The blue blankets and the blue shirt are peaceful colors and are a pleasing complement to the color tones in the face.
In the B&W the focus is on the three cigarettes, Her hair seems to be black, which together with the bandana makes her seem foreign, whereas in the color shot her hair is brown - so perhaps a Westerner celebrating St. Patricks day in the USA?
So, you see, that the picture has raised questions, which is good.
The B&W has removed her from the West to the East (in my mind) Was this the intention?

The red buggy is a compositional problem in the color shot - this could have been solved by moving left a little.

Reply from Peter Elgar on 05-12-13 8:28 AM

I like B&W because I still have a LOT of B&W FILM to use up in my 'fridge !
I also STARTED in B&W in 1951 -- most people coming into Photography now know only 'Digital COLOUR' I find I have learnt lots in Photoshop such as the 'Curves' because I started in Darkroom work in B&W and Colour printing so I know the Shadows and Highlights of the 'Curves' and the difference between a CYAN colour cast and a GREEN colour cast !
JIM -- by the way - if you can visit the CEBU IMAGES CAMERA CLUB, Sacred Heart Centre, Cebu City first Monday of the month or the Photographic Society of the Philippines, Intercontinental Hotel Metro Manila ( I have been a guest at BOTH and have Judged at IMAGES ) you will see and learn how they use B&W.
Reply from Tony Klimas on 05-5-13 7:10 PM

BW = Drama...exhibit one would be the excellent example posted above. Both great photos, but the first one really grabs me and makes me feel something. In the second, it gets lost in all the color. Maybe our brains can focus on emotion when they have less information to process?
Reply from Paul on 04-27-13 2:09 AM

Close your and eyes and imagine that you have a blank gallery wall, onto which you have to hang ten classic, world famous photographic images. When you have chosen your pictures think of the exhibition you have just created in your mind and count how many of these images are in black and white and how many are in colour. This may help you to answer your own question.

PS. my exhibition would have nine B&W and one in colour.
Reply from Steve Gumbiner on 04-11-13 5:58 PM

JT, the first thing that happens to me in the color shot is my eye is drawn to the blue tint in the top of her hair. Then I seem to go to the red in the BG, Finally I notice that it's a lady and that she has eyes. In the BW that's the first thing I focus on, her eyes.
Reply from Fernando Gomes Semedo on 04-10-13 8:55 PM

Here's Ralph Gibson speaking on the subject at around 3:40.

Reply from Fernando Gomes Semedo on 04-10-13 8:50 PM

For me, shooting in black and white adds a level of abstraction to allow emphasis on form.
Reply from Tony Klimas on 04-10-13 8:41 PM

B&W is more dramatic (to me) and is best suited for the drama of every day life. With digital, it's easy convert to B&W and in my Fuji X20 I often shoot Raw + JPG with the JPG set to one of the B&W modes so even thought I have a color image, the B&W version is more meaningful. I guess all that plus I just think it looks cool! :)
Reply from Joe Rizzuto on 04-10-13 11:00 AM

studies have shown we remember more of the details if in black & white.
b&w has traditionally been used in street photography...probably because it was there before colour, cheaper and easier to self process...
b&w is simpler, less distracting...
and many people just like the look of it.

there is no right or wrong...or better...nowadays with digital we have an easier choice in some ways as we can choose after the fact.
Reply from J T on 04-10-13 9:43 AM

It depends on how you look at things. I belive the B&W sets a differnt mood when vieweing. The old classics are mainly B&W, the dynamic range and the grays and lighting in B&W really stand out. Of course all of this is personal. Some images work better in color and some in B&W. I think for the most part, most documentary type images work really well in B&W. Take all this with a grain of salt. It is all personal preferences. Also, printing B&W is less expensive.

Here are two pictures that I personally think work well in both B&W and Color. But I lean towards the B&W one.What do you think ?


http://www.ag2si.com/gallery/1/med_U1I1365106606.SEQ.8.jpg

http://www.ag2si.com/gallery/1/med_U1I1365106606.SEQ.7.jpg
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