A photographer spent the day walking around with a camera slung over his shoulder and the lens cap left off. Towards the end of the afternoon, the photographer sat down for a coffee and realised that his camera had been in timer mode, taking random shots every 30 seconds. Many people would have worried that this may have wasted the battery, or left a nightmare on the camera’s memory card. However, this photographer quickly processed the photos in high contrast black and white and managed to pass them off as Street Photography.
OK, this story is probably not true, and is one I read a long time ago. Many Street Photographers work very well with B+W and produce stunning images. Tri X film grain looks gorgeous, and there are film pre-sets that re-create the B+W analog look with increasing success. However, an image does not become a successful Street Photograph just because it is B+W, no matter how the grain or contrast increases. Of course, NOT converting a colour photo to black and white does not automatically make a great picture. Next week I will look at some of the ways we can tweak our colour choices to make images more pleasing. In the meantime…
So, without further fuss. Here are the reasons why colour is your friend.
Daffodils (Tulips at a push).
Children with red balloons
Red Lips and Blue Eyes
Sunrise (and sunset)
Fruit and Flower Markets
Red Buses and Yellow Bicycles
Colour film was invented in 1907 by Auguste and Louis Lumiere and became commercially viable in 1935 with the launch of Kodachrome. Newspapers first turned to colour in 1954. The internet, movies, books, and magazines are all colour. However, Street Photographers love B+W, often for a good reason. The monochromatic image is a simplified version of what we see. Simplified photos can intensify the subject and help the viewer focus on the framing of the image. Also, Bresson shot in B+W and if it was good enough for him? In truth, I love a great B+W photo, but let’s remember to celebrate colour!
Take Care and Keep Clicking,