Black and White: A Lack of Color

A shop worker in San Francisco carries in her produce.

I usually don't post many black and white photos. It's not because I don't like taking photos in b+w or correcting them to look that way, it's just that I guess I have a special reservation for b+w that I don't want to take for granted. Obviously, working within the limitations of b+w film or predetermined style provides it's own set of challenges and notions. But in the days of shooting everything mostly in color and fixing it or changing it later takes some of the inherent appeal of b+w photography away. I don't think every photograph looks good in b+w nor should every photography not have color. Color itself has a whole bunch of implications and notions as well.

In any case, I do think that are special moments that are captured that look best in b+w because there is no visual distractions, like color, to take away from the subject in focus. Making the photograph very direct. You may notice that some of the most powerful photographs are in b+w (in most cases it was because the used film was b+w) and tend to be of photojournalistic nature.

That being said I'd like to show two photographs of mine that I really enjoy, especially in b+w. The one above is a photo I took in San Francisco while spending the day walking the city with my family. I really like the exact moment that is captured with this woman doing her work, living her life, and most likely waiting to be done for the day. There are no men around to do the heavy lifting for her, it's her job and her responsibility. I guess this photo to me really screams "Responsibility!". And second, below are balconies of apartments in downtown Boston. It's a fairly common type shot, but the reason I like it is because of my own personal fascination with a) fire escapes like those and b) the life of an urban Bostonian that occupies these apartments. I've never lived in a downtown city, so I've always been interested in what it's like. I'm sure vice versa for them.


 Apartments in downtown Boston.

Apartments in downtown Boston.

In both cases the b+w "look" aesthetically adds a little drama and punch to the photos that allow you to, in most cases, see the image or subject for what it is. It's that kind of directness that I like and enjoy about b+w photography.

Do you have any favorite photographs that are in b+w? or do you have a different impression of these photos than I do? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!