Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Black & White Photography

Way, way back in college (I won't reveal the year)... I took a class in black and white photography. I admit that it was just an obvious elective for someone studying Graphic Design as their major... but I had no idea I would fall in love with the medium!

I never moved on to the color photography classes, and when I stopped to wonder why... it became very clear to me. When you look at a color photograph, you're looking at a scene. When you look at a black and white photograph, you're looking at the subject.

Take this photo of my (late) kitty cat, Mercedes. If it were in color, you might think... oh what an adorable kitty cat, how cute! But in black and white... Wow! Just look at those eyes. I don't know about you but she's piercing my soul (still!)

And check out this 100-year-old train station. In black and white, you really see how the light streams through the doorway and casts delicate shadows on the wall, bench and floor. A glimpse of the suitcase in the bottom right corner only adds to the desolate feel of this photo.

The black and white nature of this photo really emphasizes the chrome-like feel of an amazing vintage Chevrolet. It puts all the elements on an "even playing field" if you will... creating visual balance between the logo, the twin headlights, the grill and the bumper. It all works together now. The highlights and lowlights really pull you in, and the midtones  in the headlamp reflections bring a sense of softness to the overall feel.

Look at this photo of a barber on his break. But when was it taken? 1972? No... it was taken in the nineties. But the black and white captures the nostalgic values of this Charlotte, NC soul. Look a the wrinkles in his brow, and the stains on his shirt. Doesn't he just look like he has stories to tell? I find it interesting too that, because of the position of the sun... the photograph captured a reflection of the parking lot in the window rather than the barber shop contained behind it. Kind of matches the outward cast of his eyes... looking beyond.

I hope you can look beyond the colors of everyday and find the emotion in photos you take and see. Because... not everything in this world is black and white!

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michelle renee bernard