BW vs Colour Photographer

/ 1 decade ago (04 April 2006 12:53)

As I am digitalizing all my BW portfolio, I realized and confirmed within myself that I am a BW photographer, no doubt about this. Teresa, my dearest wife, says the same and feels the same about my way of being a photographer. I can understand and rate more easily BW's than colour photography as when capturing images, I "can" really see the BW result of the capture I am taking, as I can almost instantly see the gradations from black to white, contrasts and overall lighting effect. This is not a selfstatement nor a vanity, but it is the reality that has to do with my begginings in photography where BW was the way to go, not only because it was much more cheap to do at home but because at that time it was the way I looked at the world: Black and White.

I have also in my PF, many colour positives - developed also by myself at home - but the interesting part is that the type of photography I do in colour is completely different than the one I do in BW. Completely different as water from wine. Nowadays however, is so simple - if one knows how to do it correctly - to enhance colours captures with dramatic effects that one can achieve really astonishinng compositions on the digital darkroom, - in some cases, far away from the reality - which are simply not compatible with BW photography, which is based mainly in light and shadow, contrast and a truly gradation from black to white. What my fellows photographers and graphics mates here at SB think about this ?

All contributions are most welcome. Many thanks. Wink

Post replies:

1 decade ago (04.04.2006 10:56)
Reply by: TAXIFUNK
When I saw your amazing 3d effect achieved by focus ranges in almost black b/w


today I was thinking WOW this is almost impossible but it works. That question of yours reminds me - just like the art of movies (Charlie Chaplin, I preferred many of his silent artworks which were quite early to some of his modern things with sound, and I really was at his house in Hollywood and read his biography) - TRUE photographers not only often demonstrate abstract thinking is more essential than whether color or not, ironically and tragically we are now experiencing the only side effect of color getting so accessible and popular to everyone - people dont even get into b/w. That way, they dont start in the right order. Thinking - drawing - painting (in your mind) - then deciding what part of your message you want to make dominant in getting your vision across best. The b/w FORCES you to see, if well done, that its not about JUST which color could be here... it says:

Here are the INNER key components and shades. In fact it often REMOVES problems that come in on the potential next step - colors. This results in a traditional OBLIGATION to keep true art alive soley maintainable by serious artists. Ironically, this is the part that needs less hard- and software requirements. So industry does not accentuate that Sad Sad

Then again, I see your colored church


from out of a window (your windows are great in b/w AND color) and enjoy it without even realizing - its master GT at work. Its just a great color piece. (although you manage to even keep a certain faith to your style in color, night colors a tricky example for my statement, hmh, amazing)

Nowadays - it can get REALLY interesting where all parties border with their skills and possiblities. As indicated by you up there, its another challenge what you can MOUNT on or ADD to a b/w CREATION or b/w photo with ADDITIONAL ARTIFICIAL COLOR. But not too much color, otherwise the b/w is just one of the colors. Great proof of this at its best for me this week was one of nastja´s poodles:


Artur, keep SOME b/w alive. Not many can do this anymore in the future - especially on meeting points with amateurs around, including me. This is something for pioneers. Glad we still got some left over Congratulation

What do the other artists specialize in? Or do you have several trends? Was thinking I should answer later or not at all, but darn, this is a topic I would hate to see neglected :taxi
1 decade ago (05.04.2006 01:42)
Reply by: MountainHawk
Achieving a dramatic effect through the use of monochromatic, dichotomous black and white imagery is an asset or attribute that naturally comes with that process. Trichromatic schemes, from my observation, due to the many permutations they create through overlap and the resulting gradations in shade tend to naturally fall into the softer less dramatic look. Colour images are dramatic and eyecatching when the primary colours are utilized or boosted...that is my input on it all. Wink
1 decade ago (05.04.2006 06:24)
Reply by:
B/W or colour? Each has it´s own purpose I guess. Are you going to use watercolour or oils to paint a subject? It just depends how you want people to respond. So I can understand that your colourphotographs are totally different from B/W ones. White/grey/black have a different impact on viewers than colour. Carol Jerrems, a very powerful B/W photographer leaves you with impressions to ponder over with a strong undertone of sexuality. Ed van der Elsken, photographer/filmmaker is amazing with his B/W, his eye becomes your eye, as if you are there on there on that spot yourself. Incredible work.
1 decade ago (20.03.2007 08:47)
Reply by: brett
I love B/W especially for portraits. I just find B/W is perfect for skin tones.
I spent the first 2 or 3 years in photography using B/W negative film then moved onto colour slide.
Now I have gone digital I like using colour for flowers and leaves but still revert back to B/W every now and then.
1 decade ago (21.03.2007 03:32)
Reply by: ernieleo
After all the antithetical speak, it comes down to this, it like trying to compare apples to oranges to pears to....etc...ect, I happen to like all of it. Photography manifest it self in many forms, theres room for everybody so go out take photos and enjoy yourself and last but not too big to put in a box..... :moon
1 decade ago (05.04.2007 07:32)
Reply by: brett
Grey Tata or can I call you Artur? Do you shoot in B/W or do you shoot in colour and convert to B/W later?

1 decade ago (05.04.2007 09:41)
Reply by:
Brett, I think in BW, see in BW, camera is set to BW, every part of me is BW...and of course you can call me Artur... Photographer Happy . Even when I do not had a camera that had a BW setting, if I think BW....the final image must be later processed or converted to BW. This is a very strict - and probably stupid - way of thinking and doing photography, but it work for me being that 35 years shooting BW leaves its marks. And if I think and see a capture in colour, I never convert it to BW nor the other way around.Both ways for the same image are, in my humble point of view, complete incompatible on a photographers head. I have to decide, prior to capture, if is is going to be a BW or colour one. And believe me that is much more demanding and much more interesting Photographer Cool
1 decade ago (06.04.2007 10:34)
Reply by: brett
I must admit I have my camera set to colour and convert to B/W on the computer.
I just like the choice of what colour goes to what shade of BorW. I see the computer as the darkroom stage, the tools in photoshop just mimic what we did on our enlargers.

I don´t think your "strick " way of thinking is "stupid" your end results speak for themselves!


1 decade ago (06.04.2007 11:48)
Reply by:
I agree with you Brett, our computers today do play the role of our late analogue darkrooms. However, when shooting BW on analogue...we had a BW film on the camera. That´s why my camera is set to BW if I want a BW capture. However and although set to BW, after the capture is made in RAW mode - I always shoot in RAW - the image do appear in BW on the camera´s LCD but when opening it with Adobe Lightroom, as is it a RAW image without any camera processing, the image appears in its original colour, as it is a "digital negative". However, after opening the image in Lightroom, the first thing I do without any hesitation is to immedialtly convert it to grayscale, as what I captured was a BW image, not a colour one. Photographer
1 decade ago (06.04.2007 11:51)
Reply by:
...ah , and the same aplies the other way around as said: if I captured a colour one " in my mind", I do not change it to BW. Also bear in mind that when converting to BW, I make a direct conversion on the whole image at the same time, not a selective one, by image zones and tones. I want to keep it the hard way. i am not pay attention to myself Wink
1 decade ago (06.04.2007 03:19)
Reply by: preet_hipno
i have done b/w to color .. I have enlarge one passport size photo in to 20"x30" portrait.. so i like b/w .. not blurry when u make enlarge..
if we convert color to B/w then some of object not seem clear as they are in real b/w capturing.

But both are fine in diffrent kind of useges :p