Black and White Photography Stripped Bare - KentVenues Guest Blog

Guest Blog – Matt James Photography – 25/10/2012

Published on Thursday 25 October 2012

Black and White Photography – Emotions Stripped Back

Ok so many people love Black and white photography, why?

In this day and age we can sit at home in front of a 3d TV if you’re lucky enough to have one and eat our popcorn and be told what to feel about visual stimulation that is presented to us, no need to think just accept that this is the exciting bit or the sad part.

Now reduce that to a still image and you have to put some thought into what you are looking at, however there will still be some colour indications of what the feeling is, many supermarkets are aware of the implications of colour that’s why expensive products are sold with warm inviting colours, and cheaper products are sold with pale blue or colours that are not so inviting as they really would prefer to sell the more expensive brands.

So take the colour out of the still and that proportion of sub conscious thought has gone, and you are presented with a still image, a second in time, with no colour and people rave about it, why?

Perhaps it that fact that you do have to consider and think about the image to come up with your own understanding and interpretation of what it’s all about, and again like a piece of music I guess that if you are in differing moods that your interpretation may be different.

Black and white has a natural feel even though we see in 3D and glorious colour, perhaps it’s because it can revel detail that can be lost through the colour spectrum, perhaps it’s because contrast and black levels can accentuate depth and create a central draw in the image.

In face as you can see from what you have read so far black and white can open a whole cavalcade of thoughts and conversation about an image, it can enhance a shot and make the image honest, I have actually heard people say about another person, ‘he’s or she is totally black and white, what you see is what you get’ has anyone ever stopped to think about where that saying came from?

So Black and White can add beauty, emotion, convey honesty, focus, offer a lasting story that the viewer can make his or her own mind up about.

Take this a step further and look at grain in a black and white shot, something that strips the detail away further, perhaps add a medium format or old style torn edge to it and then it becomes an instant antique, it adds value and worth to a shot, so next time you look at a black and white shot just take a second to think about how it may have started life, look at how perhaps older film shot black and white images may have influenced the shot from today, most of all enjoy your own story.



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