Blog #115 High Contrast
In this week’s blog post I want to share some thoughts about contrast in image making, namely high contrast.
There was a time, not long ago, when images were faint and the band of dynamic range across the whites and blacks [tones] was as narrow. Of course it was perfectly legal to smoke indoors around this time as well. Is there a connection here? Perhaps. Somewhere along the way, the smoke cleared and ours eyes developed an insatiable appetite for high contrast. “Crush your blacks” became a desirable aesthetic along with blown highlights, and punchy detail characteristic of high contrast images.
This affect was not restricted to black and white images by any means, color image making was far from impervious to this trend in photography. Colors became saturated and rich. Ah, the days of Kodachrome! By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie by the that name, it’s terrific and stars Ed Harris .
Fast Forward to HDR image making, a trend, or fad more likely that has all but faded into that over-saturated sunset. Black and white and color image making, film, and digital have all seen their days of increasing contrast over the decades.
Now, there is high contrast and there is HIGH contrast. We all have our own tastes, preferences, and styles and thank goodness for it. High contrast need not include only those images from Daido and his Provoke buddies that were ultra high contrast. The images below could be described as high contrast but in a subtle, tasteful, manner as I have attempted to represent. Most presets and filters on image editing aps and software contain at least one high contrast option illustrating our modern day taste for blacker blacks and whiter whites.
Love it or hate it, high contrast is here to stay. Regardless, It’s the content that counts, the emotional connection, and the story or message that you share that really matters. High contrast is simply a tool that you can use to tell your story in the manner in which you want to share it.
The light is always right.
*Images: © Jeremy H. Greenberg
Where: Hong Kong & USA
Subject: Various Aerial, Landscape, and Street Photography Images
Gear: iPhone & Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital Camera