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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 28 Oct 2013 (Monday) 11:28
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I can't appreciate B&W photos

 
CanonVsNikon
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Oct 28, 2013 11:28 |  #1
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Don't know if it's just me but I can't appreciate B&W photos like others here.

I can understand how others enjoy B&W and play of dark and light tones, but for me I usually take a cursory look at them and leave. Is there something wrong with me ;)

Don't get me wrong, there is definite skill involved in creating a good B&W vs a bad one. Just not for me. Anyone else think like me?




  
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Oct 28, 2013 11:34 |  #2

Have you seen any good B&W work. Specifically some film B&W work? Yousuf Karsh did some amazing work in B&W. I saw some of his work in print at the AIC and was amazed. A lot of B&W work viewed on a monitor doesn't do it for me, especially on my crappy work monitors.


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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Oct 28, 2013 11:37 |  #3

It's obviously perfectly fine to have a preference for color photos. And I've definitely had wedding couples (I shoot weddings) who mentioned they weren't really fans of B&W so I didn't return any to them.

What do you think of black and white movies ? Do you also feel repelled by them ?



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TooManyShots
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Oct 28, 2013 11:38 |  #4
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Personally, I didn't like BW until I was shooting in BW film. I don't like digital BW photos. Most of the time, the look is too clean. It does not convey any sense of the "classic look." Tonal ranges are not evenly spread. Usually, they are ending up looking very greyish. A correctly exposed and developed BW photo (or printed) should have a very wide tonal range latitude. Deep shadows with details to the whitish looking clouds.

BW photo is easier to shoot, even in a cloudy, overcast day. You can always get the highlight to shine in the development (film). To get the highlight to "pop" in color or digital, in a cloudy day or with lighting condition less than ideal, is very difficult.


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CanonVsNikon
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Oct 28, 2013 11:46 |  #5
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Whenever someone posts a B&W vs color version of same photo I always prefer the color one. It's just me.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 28, 2013 11:51 |  #6

I have shot and printed B&W and color for decades and the idea that B&W film is easier than color to do well is just WRONG. B&W is infinitely more difficult to do well. With color print either the color is right or it looks funny. With B&W you have an infinite amount of creative choices that you don't have with color.




  
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TooManyShots
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Oct 28, 2013 11:56 |  #7
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airfrogusmc wrote in post #16405546 (external link)
I have shot and printed B&W and color for decades and the idea that B&W film is easier than color to do well is just WRONG. B&W is infinitely more difficult to do well. With color print either the color is right or it looks funny. With B&W you have an infinite amount of creative choices that you don't have with color.


Easier because you have more controls how you want the photo to look. There are a lot of developers to choose from as well as film options. And the development times are all different.


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Oct 28, 2013 12:00 |  #8

TooManyShots wrote in post #16405559 (external link)
Easier because you have more controls . . .

Having many choices can make a job of any kind easier or harder, depending on how you look at it.


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airfrogusmc
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Oct 28, 2013 12:02 |  #9

TooManyShots wrote in post #16405559 (external link)
Easier because you have more controls how you want the photo to look. There are a lot of developers to choose from as well as film options. And the development times are all different.

Harder because of the creative choices and lets not even talk about the zone system. ;)

With color all you do is follow directions. Any monkey that can read and as any common sense can do that. Little creative freedom. Start playing with temps or time you get uncorrectable color shifts. With B&W you can control all of that but it's not easy and it's really difficult when it comes to the creative decisions required. Not as easy as just following directions as with color.




  
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sjones
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Oct 28, 2013 12:12 |  #10

CanonVsNikon wrote in post #16405530 (external link)
Whenever someone posts a B&W vs color version of same photo I always prefer the color one. It's just me.

People have different preferences, and you are not alone. I'm going to assume that you have seen very good B&W images but to no avail.

I'm somewhat on the other side, as I only shoot B&W. This is not to say, though, that I don't appreciate color photographs.

This said, the number of photographers who deftly use color as a purposeful aesthetic is limited. And I'm not simply referring to saturated shots of colorful doors or face paint, but instead, to those few who consciously use relational combinations in a distinctive or alluring style.

I'm hesitant to jump into which format is easier, because there are various angles from which to view. I think the use of color is often taken for granted; photographers let it fall into place since "color" itself should hold its own visual value.

Yet, this does not always follow, and that there are only a relatively few photographers who have actually managed to use color as an exceptional statement, or at least a complementary statement, as opposed to those who approach it as a face value aesthetic (a given). In light of this, superb photographs can, of course, be in color, but great 'color photography' appears to be a bit more elusive.


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Oct 28, 2013 13:13 as a reply to  @ sjones's post |  #11

I didn't either.

But once I switched to b/w street film photography...
B/W still belongs to film. IMO. Where every film, developer combination is like another digital sensor, not just LR filter, adjustment.
Different film lenses gives very different b/w pictures, comparing to digital ones.
I could even get something interesting from cheap pre-war cameras with very simple lens on it and cheapest b/w film on the market.

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Oct 28, 2013 13:58 as a reply to  @ kf095's post |  #12

I feel the same. I don't see in B/W, so it doesn't really work for me. I've done a total of 1 B/W shot, and wasn't impressed.


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SkipD
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Oct 28, 2013 14:38 |  #13

In my opinion, there's no better way to learn the art of photography than to work with B&W film and do your own processing with an experienced friend helping to judge the quality of your work and guide your improvements. That's how I got started in the mid 1960s. Everything was done with my brain in total control of every step.


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iamascientist
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Oct 28, 2013 14:48 |  #14

If you don't prefer to shoot black and white, no, there's nothing wrong with that, there's nothing wrong with you, its your decision.

If you don't appreciate BW as in you don't appreciate any of it period, well there's still nothing wrong with you, but I'd be almost 100% certain you have hardly any appreciation for art and no training of any kind, like the large majority of photographers.

Color photography and black and white are vastly different aesthetically, its too much to go into here, but both done at a high level are incredibly demanding in different ways. one isn't universally harder then the other, it doesn't work that way, that's an individual matter.

One thing I will say, is that most color photography is an aesthetic nightmare due to a complete lack of knowledge regarding the use of color.




  
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Oct 28, 2013 15:13 |  #15

In BW you can do much more with temperature shifts, for example...

AS to OP: if you don't like it - nothing wrong with that. As long as you somehow can tell why. If you don't know the answer, perhaps it would be an interesting journey for you to find out - no matter what will be your thoughts in the end :]


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