Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why black and white?

A lot of my more effective images are ones that I've converted to black and white. Part of this comes from my own fondness for monochrome. Part of it too is in what I shoot. Some subjects work well in black and white. Obviously some don't.

So what is it about black and white that is appealing? One way to think about this is to think about what's left in an image once you've stripped away the color. A red square for instance is even more uninteresting when converted to monochrome. This tank however seems to work well in black and white.
When we take away color, we are left with lines, shapes and textures. In black and white, lines are more apparent. Shapes are easier to see. And textures come alive in monochrome.
In this image you can see the form of the gun barrel. You can see the texture in the treads. Even the sky has a defined shape.
By removing color, we shift the emphasis to these basic elements. That's not to say that these elements aren't important in color photography. Far from it. In color photography these elements complement the image and a well crafted image utilizes all of these to convey a central message or theme to the viewer.

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