Five Day Black & White Photo Challenge: Day 1

November 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This is my first post for the five day Black and White Photo Challenge. I've seen this going around the web, enjoying the results and have been edging up to the side of the dance floor waiting for an invitation. Thanks to my friend Eric for asking me to join the dance.

Why B&W? Though I love black and white photos - especially those of Cole Thompson - I've never given a tremendous amount of thought to exactly why. Now that I am, I still don't know they answer but I thought I'd blurt out my thoughts as part of these five days of posts.

For me the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about black and white is classic photos like Bresson's and Capa's which have a such a strong sense of moment that they tell me a story. Such photos work for me because they evoke such a strong reaction to the moment that the mind is encouraged to build the story about why the man is jumping over the water or why the kids are all looking in the same direction. 

In this way the photo is an inspiration or a catalyst for your imagination which turns the viewing of the photo into a collaborative and involving experience. To inspire me, the photo should be lean, stripped down to just the essential elements that trigger my mind to take the bait and finish the story. If it has too much information or complexity, there is no room for me to participate.

Technical quality is not necessary for this and sometimes even detracts from the experience. Technically strong photos often urge me to sit down and pore over the page or screen to pull every last bit of information from it. This creates a very different relationship to the photograph. So the mere act of removing the color information can create a more focused message.

So my first post is a late night shot of our cat Deva in a fairly dark room. She's swinging her head around and despite the high ISO my shutter speed was about 1/8th of a second which transformed this sweet puddy tat into something much more ferocious!

At least that's my story.


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