Note On Black and White Photography
Because color naturally attracts the eye, it can sometimes distract us from the photo’s subject or the story it seeks to tell. Before I converted this photo to B&W, I didn’t take particular notice of the little boy in the background. After conversion, without the color of the original drawing my attention, the whole context of the image became clear. Here was a mom giving her son some freedom, but under her cautious, watchful eye.
For many ( if not most) photos, color is appropriate and is an important element of the beauty of the image. However, I find that for intimate, moody and dramatic scenes, B&W forces us to concentrate on the details and context of the picture. Specialized B&W editing programs, when used carefully and in moderation, can allow us to re-create the experience of old fashioned darkroom cropping, toning, contrast control (by push processing), dodging and burning to enhance the image to help tell the story. It makes me remember the hours spent in the darkroom with rolls of Kodak Tri-X anxiously waiting for the moment when, like magic, the image appeared on the photographic paper.