Color, Street Photography by streetshooter - tagged: , , , , , , ,

Ricoh GRII

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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.

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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.

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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……….

 

12 thoughts on “Ricoh GRII

    • Exactly Dave. I’m focused on figuring some things out and will post my findings as usual.
      Be safe out there and good light…
      don

  1. Hi Don,

    What I understand is that any great story has a solid foundation and builds upon this deliberately and slowly. I see this here, and the end chapter should be a solid read.

    I also perceive that the use of colour may help construct a layering effect so a viewer gains a sense of depth from the image. This allows the viewer to more easily digest what the crafted image has to offer the viewer, because it’s the photographers interpretation of the original real-world 3D source.

    Colour most likely also comes with other, intended or unintended, interpretations and meanings which are dependant on the viewer or audience.

    Sean

    • Thanks Sean.
      Maybe I was young at the time but when I met Minor White, we talked like crazy. He kept explaining how the process of making a photo worked. You hit a strong point with your last statemet and I’ll address my view on that next post.
      Peace

  2. Nice pics. Any hint on how you achieved such vibrant color — vivid or customized on your setting1? Most of “street” pics seem to be b/w. I like these color images. I use Ricoh GR. Only think I find hard is the conservative exposure.

    • Thanks Gordon. Please explain what is “Conservative Exposure”.

      As far as color goes, I tend to process for the image. So I may use a preset and that’s usually just a starting point. The clarity slider in LR will do wonders for an image going either way.

      Waiting for your reply………

  3. Don,

    OK, understood.

    Is then fair to add, by saying, that the ability of colour is that it can speak in ways that grey scale cannot. And, also speak in a different language about time – its immediacy and its history, and or future – say, as a sequence, and also fuel, feed and sustain the imagination of the photographer, the viewer and the audience – again in ways different to grey scale.

    Sean

  4. That’s a cool story about the woman and the T-Mobile color. It’s always interesting when we come across a picture like that and the person didn’t even know they were making it interesting. In the case of this woman, she just needed somewhere to stop and rest.

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