One of the beautiful things with digital photography is that you have a choice of Color or B&W. Back in the day, I always carried 2 M bodies so I could have both films to work with. Now of course, most time you need 1 body. My friend Roger is an avid Leica collector for 50 years, with more cameras that any store. He sent me the M Mono when it came out and he was so excited. Eveyone was, a B&W camera, sooooo cool and soooo great…until you need a color image. Now ya get back to me with my 2 M6’s.
Anyway, the difference between the 2 is more in the mind then the film or camera. I figure it like this. Bear with me as I use terms maybe the wrong way but the way I need to use them. Photographs are on a 2 dimensional surface. The are born from an idea and maybe a scene or something in the 3 dimensional reality most of us share. There happens to be an abstraction from 3 dimensions to 2 dimensions. One of the mosr important things lost in this abstraction is, space or depth. So the photo is as some think, an illusion of the reality it was captured from. It is no longer the reality in 3 dimensions. It now takes on a new reality in 2 dimensions. It’s alive! It has it’s own life and energy.
Here’s some magic. I know youse all know this stuff but I need to write it down so it looks good, ok. If we now take our photograph, which is a new life and see it in color cause we made it a color photo, we have something to deal with on a conscious level. That is, the viewer most likely will use the color photo to transfer the reality in the mind of the image back to the sourse. For exaample….wow, yeah, I know where that is…..or…you nailed that green perfectly. I know that door.
Now, there’s never any one way to do anything in this world. But we are shooters and we are reading shooter’s stuff cause it’s better than washing the dishes. Color has a way of softening the abstraction to the 2 dimensional reality, better known as the photo. Color eases the translation of the visual syntax of photography. It helps to define the meaning and process.
If we were to abstract even more than 3 dimensions to 2 dimensions, and strip the color away, we would have a b&w image. What does that do? Well, it now makes our abstracted image even more distant from the sourse of reality that it was born from.
Ya know what I love about photography? Well, no answers so I’ll tell ya. Photographs give the illusion of being something they are not. A photo is an entity upon itself. It is not what it appears to be. It is it’s own seperate reality. Unfortunately, photos suffer from many things in the reality that they live in. Things like memory, sentiment etc. These things plague the life of our work. People look at the photos and recall a memory of something that the photo sparks. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s a very powerful, iimportant thing to deal with.
Well, color supports all that and more. B&W on the other hand has the power to stand on it’s own but we as shooters and viewers, won’t allow that to happen. Ideally, looking at a photograph, we only see the world that lives as the image. Even in b&w, we force the memory and sensory input to make the photo relate to some other reality. That reality is different from the photo. There really is a contradiction of terms but we probably don’t want to deal with it.
When I do a workshop, the single most important thing people want to understand, is:…the abstraction to a print. Making the world in a frame and flattening it out. Framing becomes something new because you become aware of the way things get flat. The illusion of space or depth is a stronger illusion in color. The eye travel not only seeks to learn about the subject matter, but also to understand the relationships of the color.
Our lady above is being seduced by a few things. The obvious thing to us is the color. After I made the photo, she asked my why I made it. I told her that I found it very interesting that she was wearing the T Mobile color. She said, “get out… I didn’t know that. I stopped here cause I was comfortable here.”
I have to get to rest….. I need my 3 hours sleep………. seeya’s later, be blessed alls……
……to be cont’d……….