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Thread: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

  1. #91
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Quote Originally Posted by adam satushek View Post
    Ok, I've been wondering this for a long time, and I'm trying to find a way of saying this without seeming condescending or judgmental. But I really am curious. For me it has never really been a consideration, once I discovered large format color negative film and decided to stop trying to be an Adams or Weston, I knew color would be my preferred medium. Almost all of the photographers I look up to shoot color, the only real exception being Hiroshi Sugimoto. Now, I am not saying that I have anything against black and white, but that for the type of work I do I have no desire to shoot it. And this in turn leads to my preference for viewing color photographs too.

    So, in an attempt at understanding, why do you choose to shoot black and white over color? Is it for aesthetic reasons such as adding a layer of abstraction? Is it process oriented, ie. you like developing and printing in a traditional darkroom? Or because black and white materials are cheaper? Do you think of things in black and white, focusing more on shape, tone, and texture than color? Is it based on the subject matter you tend to shoot?

    Also, if you shoot both black and white and color, how do you decide which to use for a particular subject? If you are putting together a body of work (say for an exhibition) how do you mix the two? Or do you? Do you feel ok putting a black and white print next to a color print? Or do you think of them as separate things that cannot be mixed in a series or show?

    Sorry for the long winded question, but as a devout color shooter I am just trying to understand......
    Because the color is better.

  2. #92
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    Because the color is better.
    When it's an inkjet print....
    Greg Lockrey

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    Money is just a tool.
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  3. #93

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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    When I finally start shooting LF film again, this weekend I hope, I'm not going to call it "art". Life is too short to put ourselves under so much pressure.

    My first subject is going to be a delapidated old bridge near my house. I think I need to clear some tall weeds at one end of the bridge. Does anyone know what size (watts) power inverter I'll need to operate a mid-sized weed whacker powered by my car battery? Hey, I have to do SOMETHING to make the image more hands-on artistic because I'll not be wet-printing.

  4. #94

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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Old-N-Feeble: "Does anyone know what size (watts) power inverter I'll need to operate a mid-sized weed whacker powered by my car battery? Hey, I have to do SOMETHING to make the image more hands-on artistic because I'll not be wet-printing."

    Ha, thats very hands on! I like it......may be easier to find an old 2-stroke weed wacker though.....or sythe
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  5. #95
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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    When I finally start shooting LF film again, this weekend I hope, I'm not going to call it "art". Life is too short to put ourselves under so much pressure.

    My first subject is going to be a delapidated old bridge near my house. I think I need to clear some tall weeds at one end of the bridge. Does anyone know what size (watts) power inverter I'll need to operate a mid-sized weed whacker powered by my car battery? Hey, I have to do SOMETHING to make the image more hands-on artistic because I'll not be wet-printing.
    The label on the weed whacker should show power consumption. It might be expressed in watts, in which case you have your answer. If it's shown in amperes of current, multiply by 120 to get watts. Near as I can tell, 500 watts is a typical value. I'd use an 800-watt inverter.

    Rick "who'd rather work with the weeds than clear them" Denney

  6. #96

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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Quote Originally Posted by adam satushek View Post
    Old-N-Feeble: "Does anyone know what size (watts) power inverter I'll need to operate a mid-sized weed whacker powered by my car battery? Hey, I have to do SOMETHING to make the image more hands-on artistic because I'll not be wet-printing."

    Ha, thats very hands on! I like it......may be easier to find an old 2-stroke weed wacker though.....or sythe
    ^^^ Oh... a sythe. Yeah, that would be VERY hands-on... maybe even enough that I can call the resulting image "art" after all!!

    Thanks, Rick.

  7. #97

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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    ^^^ Oh... a sythe. Yeah, that would be VERY hands-on... maybe even enough that I can call the resulting image "art" after all!!

    Thanks, Rick.

    heck even with an electric weed wacker you could probably get away with calling it performance art!
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  8. #98

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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    ^^^ Oh... a sythe. Yeah, that would be VERY hands-on... maybe even enough that I can call the resulting image "art" after all!!
    Quote Originally Posted by adam satushek View Post
    heck even with an electric weed wacker you could probably get away with calling it performance art!
    Yeah, maybe if I dance around nekked while I'm whackin' the weeds... but I'd hate to be responsible for causing insanity or blindess to innocent onlookers just for the sake of art. But... maybe my posts are becoming a bit too colorful.

    Oh... to be on-topic... I'll be shooting exclusively color but will often convert to grayscale. IMHO, the choice is both personal and subject dependent. Sometimes an image can be very mundane in color but quite interesting in B&W... and vice-versa.

  9. #99
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    I earned my reputation on color, but for the last twenty years have worked in both. I don't
    think of one better than the other. Color is certainly more of a financial and time committment in the darkroom, so I tend to print it seasonally. Black and white chem can
    be formulated in minutes, and several nice prints made in an afternoon. Color involves nasty chemicals, so I won't process it indoors, but only in good weather in an outdoor drum
    rig. I get moody and want a change of pace from time to time. And I inevitably need to control the supplies budget too. Color film is getting expensive. In the field, it just depends
    on the lighting and my mood at the time. I generally carry both color and black and white
    film, at least for view camera work.

  10. #100
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    Re: Why do you shoot Black and White over Color?

    To me there is very little sense of three dimensionality in modern colour film subtractive processes - I get a far stronger sense when looking at a black and white image. I am not well versed in the absolute science behind this, but there are a number possible causes, such as:

    The longer dynamic range - gives better tonal gradiation, more detail in highlights/shadows.
    The fact that black & white are complimentary can give a higher clarity of vision.
    The section of our brain that deals with perspective & the visual layout of our surroundings functions entirely on a b&w model.

    I can see how the better tones could give three dimensionality but im just spitballin with the other two. The only colour photographs I have seen that convey a sense of three dimensionality like b&w film are autochromes, which im sure most of you know feature no dyes, only filtered b&w film.

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