Jeremy H. Greenberg | Blog #79 Black & White vs. Color, Revisited.

Blog #79 Black & White vs. Color, Revisited.

October 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Blog #79 Black & White vs. Color, Revisited. 


The subject of black and white or colour has been a lively topic since the start of commercially available film started around the late 1960’s early 1970’s.  I’ve blogged about this before in Blog #13 titled B&W or Color? and presented a splash of history of both films and concluded with a verdict of using both rather than an emphasis on either or.  

I find myself shooting colour & black and white although mostly colour for commercial work and usually [but not always] black and white for personal work.  I think that the world in general, prefers color.  Of course the world is in color so it should be presented that was in pictures, yes? Well, sometimes, yes. 

Nikon D610

The subject and environment [image itself] should dictate the presentation.  A photographer might prefer to shoot in black and white to focus the viewer on the shapes, lines, textures, emotion, gesture, and overall subject of the image.  Black and white pictures that work [even paintings or drawings] are very strong when they accomplish this.  They are timeless.

In the news recently, two artist’s work in particular are worthy of note, and both are outstanding examples of both types of pictures. Sadly, we lost one of our light-catching brethren, Pete Turner. Check out his absolutely outstanding colour work and give homage to this true master of color. 

Thankfully still alive and well is a terrific street photographer named Dotan Saguy’s  who presents his black and white work using a Leica M Monochrom.  

Nikon D610

Another interesting topic surrounding this issue is one of presentation.  Can a portfolio, series, or otherwise collection of images be presented in both black and white or color? Does a collection have to be in all black and white or all color? Many purists would say yes but then again, rules are meant to be broken.  One suggestion is to present all of the black and white pictures and then all of the color pictures.  That is, if you insist on presenting both within a collection.  I have no substantial reason for this suggestion other than it tends to work better.

Lastly, film or digital, black and white or color, wide angle or telephoto, there are so many decisions to distract us from making awesome images. At the end of the day, let the decisions come you rather than forcing them and the results should take care of themselves.  

The light is always right.


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