Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Mike Johnston at TheOnlinePhotographer.Com (look for Color Junkies) has written today a deliberate challenge to colour photography suggesting that black and white is almost always better. of course I'm sure he doesn't really mean it - he's simply taking an extreme point of view to get the conversation going.

I was tempted to write back with an example of one of my images in which even a very small amount of colour was essential to the image. To do so, I had to do a black and white convert of the colour image, and as I had remembered; the black and white version was awful. I have, however; previously noted that black and white conversion often need more contrast and so I started to work on the image, and guess what, I quite like the adjusted black and white version.

Above you see first the colour versi-on I have been showing for the last couple of years, the straight black and white conversion and the edited black and white version (involving several layers and painted masks as well as some dodging of highlights and even a little dodging of mid tones at the end.

In a print, the colour image shows more detail and the subtlties work better, but I have to say I quite like the depth to the black and white image. So much for my point.


UncleSam said...

No, that's too far from being true. BW or colour always depends on the photographer, even in extreme cases. Here's my version of what could be.

Nick Jungels said...

Hmmm, I'm not totally convinced that Mike J at TOP doesn't really believe it, but I appreciate his advice.

His follow up post today (in my opinion) adds credence to his advice to take it to B&W and see if the picture stands on it's own.

The 'Afghan Girl' picture stands on it's own in B&W. I don't believe it's as dramatic as the color version, but it's still a strong picture.

Me said...

I tend to prefer black and white although there are occasions where black and white doesn't cut it.

My husband is sure that our children will think they grew up in the fifties sense I seldom reveal them in any color but black and white.

lime59 said...

I like to look at color pictures in black and white just to see how it will hold up. Without the extra information color provides, sometimes a shot becomes meaningless...