Trying to Talk about Black and White and Missing the Mark

I can't choose black and white over color, because I love color in all its aspects too much. In writing about black and white it is difficult not to meander over and talk about color. Color, to me adds a sense of time and place, it specifies the light, it shows the redness of the dirt, or the new green of a plant. Time is urgent in the photo below, not a perfect shot for many reasons, but one I love because I was there. The color of the dirt and the ads in the background places us in the moment. Obvously there isn't enough contrast to make this work at all in black and white. It would become less that the satisfying (to me) image that it is and be a plain bad photo.


 In small way color gives reference points that define what we see. Sometimes that is the necessity of the shot. Or color can add specificity by helping us to see the shallow and luminous gradations of color--shade of blue horizons, values of rising dust, fading light, fading paint.



And color does the opposite, surprises the viewer with unexpected splashes of real color. 

Then there is color for fun, which I am not against. Color that was not quite there, but captures how the place and the moment felt to me at the time.




Some of My Favorite Black and Whites

It Is Harder Than It Looks: The Difference between Intentional Blur Photography and Out-of-Focus Photos