Black And White

There is no doubt in my mind that black and white photography is the most difficult of all. Sound stupid, counter-intuitive? It sure is, except for those of us who do photography professionally.

I often wonder about this. Is it because we are bound to our past, to the roots of our art? Even into the early part of the 20th century, photography was only black and white. I look at the images created by Ansel Adams, Edward Westin and their peers and marvel at their artwork. Even with our far more sophisticated tools we cannot surpass what they did.

What we can do, however, is experiment more readily. People often ask me if I shoot the scene as a black and white image or interpret it in post-processing? The answer is “yes.” At times I know from the get-go that I want this as a black and white image and I shoot it accordingly. At other times I don’t realize until I view the image on my computer screen that it just does not work as color image and that I must reinterpret it in black and white.

For me, black and white is all about emotions. Stripped of the distractions of color, that raw black and white image must have drama, emotion, texture, or wonderful tonality to be effective.

One final word about black and white photography. To me, there is nothing equal to the visual and sensual pleasure of a classic black and white fine art print. Period.