Do you ever wonder why some photographers present most of their work in colour? Or why some prefer to use black and white? The answer is simple. Impact. Sometimes, the emotion that is being conveyed in an image may get lost in colour, or inversely, in black and white. The photographer's goal is for your eye to be led to the subject and sometimes tints and shadows affect how you see the image.
First, let's talk about colour. Colour images tend to stimulate a variety of responses within the viewers mind. Bright colours foster happiness, joy, warmth and radiance. Muted colours often convey sadness, boredom, silence or peace. And if a colour image gets the viewer to experience these emotions, then it has served part of its purpose.
However, the colours in an image must work in harmony to create an overall viewing experience. If there is a bright colour amidst a dull scene, and it is NOT part of the intended subject, it can be distracting to the viewer. As well, if the colours in the scene seem not to compliment one another, the viewer may get more caught up in these variances than in the actual image content.
Here is one of my images in colour. I like how the red wall and green grass play off of each other to create a frame for the subject. The viewers' eyes should be drawn directly to the subject`s face, since it is the lightest part of the image. His jeans add a pop of blue, which is complimentary to the red and green. Finally, I think the colours in his shirt tie in well with the over colours in the image, making all of the elements of colour work well together.
I think this image speaks of solitude, warmth, and reflection.
Next, let`s look at the same image in black and white. With a monochromatic colour scheme, the photographer is relying on the subject matter to capture the viewers`full attention. Often, black and white images are very dramatic in their lighting and subject matter, and the absence of colour further creates dramatic tension. In a world, that now, more than ever before, lives in colour, the starkness of an image without colour can have a big impact. Sometimes, it makes the viewer have to think more about the subject matter, since they are not immediately dealing with the visual stimulation of colour.
In my opinion, in the black and white conversion of this image the subject is the sole focus. We no longer see the interplay between colours, nor the pop of the blue on the green and red, and thus, our eye is brought straight to the subject, with no hesitation. I like that the subject seems to be surrounded by a lighter space within the darker elements of the image, as well as the fact that I am more inclined to wonder `What is he thinking about?".
I think this image also speaks of reflection and solitude, but also of loneliness and a touch of sorrow.
So the next time you are looking at an image, whether in colour or black and white, try to think about what the photographer was trying to show you, and what the subject matter is expressing. Through the use of these two forms of image presentation, photographers are telling a story. We just hope you are following along!
Phew, that was pretty heavy stuff for a Friday morning! On a lighter note, spring is around the corner, and I cannot WAIT to get out shooting ins some glorious sunshine and warmth!! :) Spring and summer sessions are starting to get booked up, so if you are planning a session for your family, don't procrastinate too long! LOL