first things first. i try to make regular posts, but i’ve been a bit distracted in the last four months - researching, traveling, photographing, processing, selling my project to galleries, and preparing for a gallery show. now that i’ve had the opening for Opportunity Cost, i can return to life as normal - which means returning to blogging.
i’ve seen numerous people claim that an image is lacking in color, so it will work as a black and white image. that is one of the biggest mistakes one can make in my opinion. remember in my previous blog post when i said if the color is actually distracting from the subject matter that it’s a good candidate for black and white? when a color image is lacking in color, converting it to black and white really serves little purpose. not only does the black and white conversion in these cases serve little purpose, i’d actually argue that it makes for a worse black and white image?
and why does a color image with little color make for a worse black and white image? first of all, a black and white image as most of us know them, are actually grayscale images. a true black and white image would have only black or white with no colors in between - no gradations, no grays, only black and only white. occasionally, we see photographs like this, but they’re oftentimes merely silhouettes, shapes or forms - which are nice. but they are rare in the world of landscapes. most of the “black and white” landscapes we see are truly grayscales - there are black, white and numerous tones or shades of gray in between. And it’s these shades of gray in between that show us the details of the landscape, the gradation, and the colors and tones of colors that existed in the color image.
now that we have a better idea of what we call black and white images actually are, it should be simple to see that an image devoid of color in the first place is going to be devoid in the nuances of a grayscale image. missing out on these nuances, gradations, details and tones in a grayscale image, makes for a grayscale image that is less interesting, at least to me.
as you already know, the majority of my images are shot digitally, and photographed in color. so when i decide an image will be better as black and white, i actually process the image as if it was meant to be a color image. i make it into the best possible color image i can. why? as you know from above, the tones of grays are a result of the colors in the original image - the more color, the more vibrant and punchy the colors are, the better the grayscale image will be.
so, step 1 in the creation of a black and white image: make it into the best color image it can be.