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Author Topic: B/W by design or afterthought?  (Read 1829 times)

Offline greypoint

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B/W by design or afterthought?
« on: August 18, 2009, 05:12:23 PM »
There have been a number of interesting b/w/monochrome photos uploaded recently. I suppose most of us produce some - a few or a lot. Do you ever go out deliberately to shoot only b/w and if you do, how does that alter your method of picturetaking? And what for you is the enduring appeal of photos that don't rely on colour?



Offline Eileen

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 06:48:41 PM »
Another great idea for a thread Sue. I'll have to think a bit before I reply. Look forward to hearing others' thoughts.  :)

Offline Bigbill

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 06:56:16 PM »
Hewwo from Sultry Sheffy,great Q, well,to me,certain scenes scream out b&w,such as cobbled streets,old and haggard faces(like mine),or rainy scenes,and when these are in front of me i do shoot with the intention of the final article being b&w,having said that,it changes nothing i do as i shoot,doesnt affect my settings,maybe it should,i dunno ??
Have to be honest,b&w can be a life saver when the pic just wont work in colour,,,,,also,there are so many ways to go b&w.....i use the lightness channel method.

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Offline oRGie

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 08:14:00 PM »
This is one of the things I love about digital, having only ever had 1 body at a time, when I used film, somedays I would fancy doing some black and white pics, so I would load up the film and off I go, now being an amateur I wouldnt rustle through loads of films, so I may end up with half a roll left, so the next time I use the camera I have to use the b&w film first and inevitably I would be missing great colour shots lol..... so for me digital is a godsend, sometimes I shoot b&w mode, as said, some things just demand it, but mostly now I just shoot and decide in the digital darkroom that is my comfy smell free and well lit living room :)

Offline Oldboy

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 09:26:35 PM »
I don't see a scene as B&W only in colour, but that's perhaps because I've never been a film user. I do sometimes see where a photo with lots of tones, could work better in B&W, but it's still a colour scene to me.  ;D

Offline irv_b

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 10:25:31 PM »
I really think it must be an experience thing (not saying you are old or anything :D) - cos I never think of it until I have the pic on the computer and see the possibities then :-[
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Offline Oldboy

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 11:15:34 PM »
I really think it must be an experience thing (not saying you are old or anything :D) - cos I never think of it until I have the pic on the computer and see the possibities then :-[
Irv
I'll have you know I'm not old just decrepit!!!!  :'(  ::)

Offline irv_b

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2009, 11:20:19 PM »
it has been noted that some of your jokes are pre-war ;D :legit:
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Offline Oldboy

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2009, 11:28:47 PM »
it has been noted that some of your jokes are pre-war ;D :legit:
Yes, the civil war!  :-[

Offline greypoint

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 08:00:29 AM »
The only time I can recall setting out with the intention of getting only b/w results was on one of my visits to the local old and no longer used cemetery. Which I suppose proves the point that many of use think of b/w in terms of nostalgia etc. It does make you think a bit more about the finished result when you know you can't rely on colours to differentiate similar tones. It's only when you attempt it that you realise there's more to it than you first thought! I do think it tends to work better for craggy faces - or perhaps it's just a lot harder to get an interesting result from a smooth young skin.

Offline nickt

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 08:14:48 AM »
I do go out looking to shoot in B&W. For example my shots of Speaker's Corner, I knew they would look good in B&W so I looked for people that had good tones and not just colourful clothes. There are also some subjects that look better in B&W than in colour whether it be people or architecture. I think you should go out with the intention of shooting B&W rather than get home and decide then. Saying that though, when you see an image on the screen, you do think that looks better in B&W!
Nick

Offline Eileen

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2009, 08:09:19 AM »
I have never gone out with the intention of shooting only black and white images, but I do sometimes take pictures with the thought that they would look good as mono images (and occasionally I am right ;)). Most often I see a picture on the screen and it seems to want to be mono rather than colour. I have been thinking recently that I should set out sometimes to take bw only, as it would help me to see and evaluate tones and contrast if I didn't have colour to rely on.

As for enduring appeal, that is much harder to quantify. I think colour dominates a picture because we see the world in colour and it affects how we feel and react to the world. Because photographers start with what is there and then try to find a composition or moment that works, you can end up with a lot of irrelevant information which distracts from the picture content. Whereas if you strip colour out then there is less to distract from shape and from, light and shade, and the story.

I think that black and white photography is more popular than monotone painting (for example) because it is a way to control and direct the user's eye. In painting one can choose exactly the colours and shades you ant to use to make a harmony. But that's not so easy in photography.

Offline Trickee

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2009, 09:09:26 AM »
when i listen to my mother talking about the good old days i remind her that they were the black and white days so for me black and white does mean old. ;D
i occasionally take my father to a preserved steam railway and more often than not i convert the images i take to mono. To be honest i have not considered changing settings just to take black and white pictures what changes need to be made?  i just convert in the software.
other times i can see a scene that is very flat and mono looking even in colour and i know that this will be a black and white conversion candidate.
black and white for me can be visually dramatic, sad, depressing, thought provoking and very nostalgic. i suppose the oldies on here will be more use to black and white pictures in newspapers so it also reminds me of news shots :legit:

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009, 09:47:32 AM »
I admit it - I rarely just think at the last minute on the computer that an image will work in mono. Images I convert to mono are usually the ones I take with that in mind.

I liked a quote that Abers once added as a comment one of my pictures: 'Colour pleases the eye, but black and white pleases the soul'. I know it can be a very personal thing, but I really like monochrome images. Unless it is a picture of something that just has to be in colour . .

As for conversion technique, I always use Serif Photoplus 'Black and White Film' layer(s) in 16bit mode - I just can't seem to get what I want out of Elements.
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Offline spinner

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Re: B/W by design or afterthought?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 11:52:32 AM »
While I will take some shots with the idea that they might work better in B&W, until now I'd never thought of actually considering just the B&W outcome. Even now, I can't think/imagine a scene in B&W before I've shot it.
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
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