Sometimes I like to convert my photographs into black and white, simply to see what they look like and what moments are focused on without the distraction of color.
Sometimes I see a photo in black and white in my head and sometimes in color. To me, photos are meant to tell a story and there are times that that story is better told if there aren’t a variety of colors, which can be a distraction, to pull the eye away from the story.
I don’t agree that just any photo can be converted to black and white, however. I’ve seen photographs of flowers converted to black and white and don’t get it. I think flowers should be in color. However, that’s only my personal opinion.
Native American dancers?
Color. (My photo of this was taken on film and I didn’t take the time to scan it in for this post.)
Photos from autumn? Color.
Flowers at a greenhouse? Usually in color but sometimes black and white tells the story better and the colorful flowers aren’t needed.
I thought I would share some of the “story telling” photos I took in the last few months that I thought told the story better in black and white. Even though lately I like most of my photos in color simply so the world doesn’t seem so dark.
I’m rarely drawn to an image where I’ve posed someone or something for a photograph. My eye and interest is almost always drawn to an image where the moment was unscripted and unprepared. I live in an area where most requests are for sessions where everyone is posed and since I enjoy photography as a way to earn some extra funds for my family, I accept these sessions, knowing I can cleanse my pallet later by photographing my children or a freelance job.
I know I’ve rambled about this before on my blog but I suppose why I enjoy unscripted photography so much more than posed is because of my journalism background. When I worked for small-town newspapers I never knew what a day was going to bring, no matter how well I planned it out. I might go in expecting a ribbon cutting in the afternoon and a school board meeting at night but by the evening I was writing about a car accident or a fire I had gone to or a murder the police had sent us a press release on. I grew accustomed to the unpredictable nature of small-town news, even though there were some days I longed for a “normal” day where everything went as planned.
I suppose that the spontaneous nature of my job rubbed off on my photography as well. When I was taking photos for a newspaper I preferred to capture the action because that’s what draws the readers’ eyes to the page – a well-captured image of the action – much more so than a person standing in one place and smiling at the camera (unless the person is someone famous or prestigious.) The desire to capture the action passed on to my personal photography as well and it’s essentially how I approach moments I plan to document through my camera.
Although, if you throw something unusual into a posed photo – say a group of cows in the background – then that posed photo does become more interesting. It is moments like the one I experienced the other day with a herd of cows and a teenage boy when spontaneity can break into the posed. In fact, I often keep snapping the shutter because I know something unexpected will break the monotony of the plain ole’ stand or sit here and smile at the camera shots.
My brain doesn’t seem to be wired for the organized and the planned when it comes to photography or art and as much as I would like the rest of my life to be more planned and organized, it doesn’t seem to work out there either. Admiring the spontaneity in my photography is something that has encouraged me to try to do the same in life and although I often find myself failing at embracing the unknown in my every day, I plan to keep doing it in my art.