Black and White.
As you read this keep in mind that this is my personal favorite and preference to how I photograph my Art. I do photograph a lot of color and will work to the likings of my clients. Part of being a commercial photographer is the ability to photograph anything and obtain any and all looks that the client is looking for.
Monochrome/Black and White. My love Affair with it.
It’s dark, bright, sharp, soft and has contrast. I have sat down about a dozen times to try and explain what it its that I see and why I chose this way to make my photographs. Growing up I loved seeing black and white images of old punk bands like The Ramones and The Clash. I also lived for a period in the Northeast where black and white street photography really spoke to me. I have always been mechanically inclined. I love metal, structures and anything made by hand. I’ve always been attracted to a raw look, kind of like what people now call Steam Punk. I worked in a factory with metal. I also love motorcycles and seeing how exposed the engines and frames are. I like them dark, black and raw. I have never been into bright flashy colors. Black and White images cut strait to the core. There are no special effects. That raw and strait to the core look hides nothing and tells no lies. I don’t choose to express in colors. I like to build an image with lighting, composition and subject. I don’t like to rely on vibrant colors. I see more in black and whites. Often you will miss a light ray or a highlight when making photographs in color.
If I was to use Music as an analogy I would say take Van Halen and how he could write a song and shred on a guitar. That talent he has is amazing. That would be the color. Now take the Ramones. They weren’t as talented in guitar skills but as a band they were a force to be reckoned with. They cut out the fat. No insane guitar solos, no singer jumping and doing the splits. They kept it tight, simple, strait forward and to the point.
I want to share a few scenarios of when and why I shoot in Black and White.
Music: When shooting live music you often have to deal with horrible colored lighting. Shooting in color often get you a blue or red band member. When I show an image of the band I don’t want someone to see and think, wow there were red and blue lights at the show. I also don’t use a flash. I used to but as cameras have gotten better I have gotten away from using a flash. Wen shooting I want to be a fly on the wall and not draw any attention to myself and interfere with the performance or someone experience. I also get up and close and sometimes just a few feeds from the musicians. Last thing I want to do is blind them.
Landscapes: I rarely go out and photograph a landscape when it is sunny and clear skies. It’s just boring to me and doesn’t show much emotion. I love cloudy skies. In black and white the clouds look more energetic and raw. I like the challenge of making photographs in not so favorable weather. Snow, rain and wind all have their own challenges and those challenges contribute to making a more interesting photograph.
Playing with the contrast of black and white you can take a scene that would be a bit boring in color and really make it pop.
I feel in black and white it really shows the power of this wave.
In black and white you look a little deeper. You see and look into the textures of the fish scales. Then you look into the pattern and textures of the fish laying on each other. Then you see how the light is hitting down on the center of the image and bleed off into darker sides.
Black and White. It emphasizes on things you might not have noticed if the image were in color. It forces you to pay attention and use your mind a bit more. Maybe we need to start living our lives in a little more in.....
Black and White.