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ignatiusjk
11-Feb-2011, 15:40
I shoot Fuji pro160C in quickload format and I'm wondering why I should shoot B&W film.I usually convert my color photos to B&W in photoshop and I can actually get more control over the subject.I can make the sky pitch black and not increase the contrast,if I wanted the sky that dark I would have to use a deep red filter which adds f.stops and contrast to the scene.I still feel funny about not shooting B&W film but I think it's the wave of the future.Am I missing something????

Vaughn
11-Feb-2011, 15:48
Cost? Ease of developing at home? Wider control over development? More types of film and film speeds? No need for computers, Photoshop, printers? Longevity of film (and less damage due to heat)?

Probably missed a couple...

John NYC
11-Feb-2011, 15:50
Maybe you shouldn't. Do whatever works for you.

For me, I like the extended range of tonal values it gives and the smoothness (especially on 8x10) between those tonal values. I like the way it handles shadow areas. I also like that the negs will last for a very very long time without degrading.

That said, I also shoot color neg and color transparency... when I want color.

Ash
11-Feb-2011, 15:51
Everything Vaughn said

Gem Singer
11-Feb-2011, 16:14
Because Ansel and Edward mastered B&W, and I'm still trying.:)

Seriously, my Nikon digital SLR does a better job with color photography than any camera or color film I ever used (incl.Leica and Kodachrome).

John NYC
11-Feb-2011, 16:32
Seriously, my Nikon digital SLR does a better job with color photography than any camera or color film I ever used (incl.Leica and Kodachrome).

I just have to disagree with that... :-)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4105/4966900856_c11460c688_o.jpg

And remember this is just a crappy old Epson scan.

Roger Cole
11-Feb-2011, 16:43
Cost? Ease of developing at home? Wider control over development? More types of film and film speeds? No need for computers, Photoshop, printers? Longevity of film (and less damage due to heat)?

Probably missed a couple...


Maybe you shouldn't. Do whatever works for you.

For me, I like the extended range of tonal values it gives and the smoothness (especially on 8x10) between those tonal values. I like the way it handles shadow areas. I also like that the negs will last for a very very long time without degrading.

That said, I also shoot color neg and color transparency... when I want color.


Everything Vaughn said

I'd say "everything both of them said."

Unless you're shooting some weird commercial work that demands it (can't imagine what that would be, but you never know) or you sell prints to people who care what it was shot on or some other weird reason, there's no compelling reason that YOU should shoot it if YOU aren't so inclined.

OTOH, I've done color and, while I'll continue to do some color, it doesn't hold the interest for me that black and white does. But then that's largely also because photography for me is partly a refuge from the tech world I live in professionally and I really enjoy wet darkroom work, and that is something I have more control over by far in black and white. I've done color printing too, may return to it in the future, but it's an area that even for me the fun factor and control factor are both sufficiently lower that I may well just do it hybridly as you do (except only shooting color when I intend color) with scanned film and digital output.

For what you are doing, the only real reason I can think of, if you don't also really enjoy wet darkroom work, is that it's a heck of a lot cheaper. Black and white silver grain is also different and gives a different look from color dye clouds, but that's not going to be so apparent in LF sizes and normal enlargements from same. It's very apparent in 35mm and somewhat in MF, though. Whether the "real" grain or the dye grain looks better is a matter of taste and the subject, but they are different.

Gem Singer
11-Feb-2011, 16:46
John,

No need to attempt to convince me by demonstrating your expertise with color film.

In my hands, film works best for B&W. Digital works best for color.

ki6mf
11-Feb-2011, 16:53
the greatest tonal range is the main reason to shoot B&S. B&W has a 7 stop range Digital sensors have 5 stops. Color film 4-5 and slides slightly less. Yes you can do HDR in digital however the range and image quality of B&W is superior to shooting color and then scanning.

John NYC
11-Feb-2011, 16:55
John,

No need to attempt to convince me by demonstrating your expertise with color film.

In my hands, film works best for B&W. Digital works best for color.

gotcha!

ic-racer
11-Feb-2011, 18:31
Why shoot color? Contrast control is extremely difficult. Materials are expensive. Color processors are expensive. The various Rube Goldberg forms of dye-coupling, and image-level color filtration have all been replaced by digital.

In terms of black and white, silver bromide IS only sensitive to light: therefore black and white only. There really is no choice.

Frank Petronio
11-Feb-2011, 18:39
I shoot color and convert more and more often. I use a lab for processing and C41 is a breeze, it scans easily, and you can use the color information to have control over the conversion better than any set of filters. Nowadays I just buy Portra 400 and load just one film, one shot.

Gem Singer
11-Feb-2011, 18:58
Frank,

Total control over the film editing process in Photoshop is excellent for both color and B&W.

Scanning, and inkjet printing in a light room is a pleasure.

However, not having control over the film developing process is what turns me off about shooting color film.

Nowadays, if you can find a lab that processes color film quickly, accurately, at a reasonable price, and meets all of your expectations, consider yourself lucky.

Brian C. Miller
11-Feb-2011, 19:59
Gem, what do you mean by not having control over the color film developing process?
(Oh, you mean that you don't have a Jobo, and you don't want to develop color film in trays.)
Is there a government fund for that? Maybe some kind of disability rating? The UnJobo-ed? Joboless? Support group? (oh, that's us. Sorry, we're just useless. You're screwed!)

-- Brian "I like watching the drum go round and round again" Miller

Bob Kerner
11-Feb-2011, 20:03
I shoot B&W because it forces me to see differently. For whatever reason, I look at a composition differently when I know I have B&W film loaded then when I'm shooting color. I spend a lot more time determining what I want to be white and black in the scene. I'm still trying to "see" portraits in B&W.

My objective is to get my images as close to perfect as possible in the camera and not rely on my computer to make things look right. As such, I've almost never used the computer to convert from color to B&W. If the film didn't start out as B&W why should I try to use software to convert it? YMMV, but that's my philosophy.

At some point, I'd like to figure out how to do B&W development at home. I've done 35mm and it's not rocket science; just need something to hold 4x5 film. I'm afraid though, that if I can develop then I'll want to learn to print and there's simply no room for that with two little kids! But printing is certainly what draws many to B&W.

Wayne
11-Feb-2011, 20:23
I've done 35mm and it's not rocket science; just need something to hold 4x5 film.

You don't have room for a few 5x7 trays in the house? How do YOU fit in? :)

JMB
11-Feb-2011, 20:29
I shoot Fuji pro160C in quickload format and I'm wondering why I should shoot B&W film.I usually convert my color photos to B&W in photoshop and I can actually get more control over the subject.I can make the sky pitch black and not increase the contrast,if I wanted the sky that dark I would have to use a deep red filter which adds f.stops and contrast to the scene.I still feel funny about not shooting B&W film but I think it's the wave of the future.Am I missing something????

The splendid thing about shooting in black and white film is that we get to work with silver, black and white chemicals, and black and white photographic paper, which are indespensible to the impact of a black and white photograph. Particularly if we make contact prints, we can make photographs that challenge Epson to reform its vision. Photogravures make the most of ink, that's for sure, but I have yet to see an ink-sprayed print that looks anything like a master's photogravure. As far as I can tell, the texture and unique light rendering of silver, platinum, carbon, or the photogravure processes have been essential elements of every strong photographic statement ever made and none of these processes is easily subsituted by more commerical-mechanical methods.

Since you are printing in black and white anyway, then I presume that you have a preference for black and white photographic statements. Most of the great masters have played with color to some degree [Kertesz with the greatest success], but I nevertheless think that it is just a brute fact that the strongest statements in photography have been made in black and white. This truth strikes me as nearly immutable and is not likely to change and become false without changing brain chemistry itself ---despite the efforts of contemporary color propagandists. The impact of abtract black and white on the mind is simply a mystery that manifests most beautifully and sublimely in metal processes. This is what brings me to photography.

Chris Strobel
11-Feb-2011, 22:13
Seriously, my Nikon digital SLR does a better job with color photography than any camera or color film I ever used (incl.Leica and Kodachrome).

Really?if I could get a large fine art landscape color print from a Nikon dslr like the 8x10 Astia color prints I've seen in Lough's galleries, or the 8x10 Velvia Burkett hanging on my living room wall, I'd chuck my 8x10 in a second.You must be using the D3X and stitching right?Do you have any examples of your work?

Gem Singer
11-Feb-2011, 23:25
Chris,

Read post #8 on this thread.

I did not state that B&W is better than color, and I refuse to be drawn into a debate on the subject.

I have been involved with photography for over 64 years, using B&W film, color film, and digital capture. I just happen to prefer B&W for film and digital for color.

If you would like to see examples my work, you are welcome to visit my home. My best B&W prints are hanging on my walls. My digital color snap shots are stored away in boxes.

Chris Strobel
12-Feb-2011, 01:04
Chris,

Read post #8 on this thread.

I did not state that B&W is better than color, and I refuse to be drawn into a debate on the subject.

I have been involved with photography for over 64 years, using B&W film, color film, and digital capture. I just happen to prefer B&W for film and digital for color.

If you would like to see examples my work, you are welcome to visit my home. My best B&W prints are hanging on my walls. My digital color snap shots are stored away in boxes.

Ok fair enough, though I said nothing about b&w vs. color :)

edtog
12-Feb-2011, 01:08
Probably because I learn't 20 years ago and old habits die hard.
For my personal work I like to take a more traditional approach, all the digital/Photoshop stuff is left for work.

Also someone has to keep Tri-X alive.

pdmoylan
12-Feb-2011, 06:11
I agree with Gem's comments on digital color except that in low light I do not find that white balance is accurate enough.

Having just looked at Hans Strand's images with the HC50 and new 28mm Lens, I see a future change for some.

I doubt I could obtain the DR, detail and such splendid color with LF film.

Here is one in particular. Outstanding.

http://www.hansstrand.com/Hans_Strand/Ice_Sea_5.html

jp
12-Feb-2011, 07:34
Thanks for the link for Hans Strand. He's really got his s*** together and his intimate landscapes rival Eliot Porters! The grand landscapes don't all seem super realistic and the arctic shots are beautiful. While the one photos pdmoylan links to is a newer probably digital one, there are MANY perfect photos 10 years old or older, at least as well as I can tell on my LCD monitor at the resolution presented..

To the OP, I'd ask why shoot color? I do B&W film and color digital like Gemsinger, and echo many of the responses of why we choose to do B&W film. Like the materials, process choices, darkroom work, extended tones, non-digital tradition, etc....

jnantz
12-Feb-2011, 08:04
why shoot b/w ?
not sure ... other than i can still ..

i can't get color processed locally anymore
and i don't want to deal with shipping + $5+ / sheet ...

John NYC
12-Feb-2011, 08:22
I agree with Gem's comments on digital color except that in low light I do not find that white balance is accurate enough.

Having just looked at Hans Strand's images with the HC50 and new 28mm Lens, I see a future change for some.

I doubt I could obtain the DR, detail and such splendid color with LF film.

Here is one in particular. Outstanding.

http://www.hansstrand.com/Hans_Strand/Ice_Sea_5.html

Even at this tiny size (what would that print at? 2x2.5 inches?) you can see the tonality in of the sky in the yellow area above the water is not smooth. Now, whether that comes out in a print or whether that bothers you online is another discussion, but it definitely is there.

That said, for most purposes and print sizes this kind of quality is going to be more than enough for most people.

Brian Ellis
12-Feb-2011, 08:58
Even at this tiny size (what would that print at? 2x2.5 inches?) you can see the tonality in of the sky in the yellow area above the water is not smooth. Now, whether that comes out in a print or whether that bothers you online is another discussion, but it definitely is there.

That said, for most purposes and print sizes this kind of quality is going to be more than enough for most people.

It's really hard to tell much about the technical aspects of a photograph on a computer monitor. We're all seeing versions of the image that likely differ to some degree due to differences in calibration/no calibration, type of calibration, screen resolution, age of monitor, brand of monitor, color space, etc. etc. But I'm not sure where you get a print size from what you're seeing on the screen. Does he give a file size somewhere? In general he could print it any size he wants.

Frank Petronio
12-Feb-2011, 09:04
I think B&W is good for poor people who can't afford a lab.

John NYC
12-Feb-2011, 09:20
It's really hard to tell much about the technical aspects of a photograph on a computer monitor. We're all seeing versions of the image that likely differ to some degree due to differences in calibration/no calibration, type of calibration, screen resolution, age of monitor, brand of monitor, color space, etc. etc. But I'm not sure where you get a print size from what you're seeing on the screen. Does he give a file size somewhere? In general he could print it any size he wants.

What you say is very true about how things look different on different monitors. I am also sure this uploaded example is not the size he prints from.

The size he has uploaded is 702x528 pixels. At 300 dpi, it would print at 2.34x1.76 inches. If this is a downsized version of the actual file he prints from, I have serious doubts if someone said the the tonality of that sky compared to what an 8x10 color transparency will produce is equal in quality.

Whether one cares or not is really another issue. As I said, for most people, it probably simply doesn't matter.

Gem Singer
12-Feb-2011, 10:07
Hey Frank,

Since when have you become a rich person? :)

Armin Seeholzer
12-Feb-2011, 10:11
B&W has a 7 stop range Digital sensors have 5 stops. Color film 4-5

So Wally you must have worked with digital 10 years ago and with color film 50 years ago!!!
My color neg films handling about 12 f stops B/W about 13 and digital about 11-13 f stops depends on the camera even a slide film has today about 6-7 f stops which he shows!
Warmly welcome you in the today's world;--))))

Cheers Armin

bob carnie
12-Feb-2011, 10:49
Though we do a lot of BW conversion of files from scanned colour neg and trans, as well as digital capture, we still shoot BW film as it has only one layer to work with rather than the multiple coating layers of colour neg or trans. The main advantage to us would be sharpness.

With that said though I do like the control of conversion due to playing with colour channels and twisting the A B of lab to get some pretty nice BW conversions .

jnantz
12-Feb-2011, 11:01
I think B&W is good for poor people who can't afford a lab.

yup, i'm too poor to have about 2K worth of color film processed :)

as an alternative, i have started to process my color in b/w chemistry ( coffee )
and remove the mask in PS ... i get smooth almost grainless b/w negatives.
unfortunately, that means if i want a color image, i probably will have to
assemble 3 negatives in PS which i haven't figured out how to do yet..

cjbroadbent
12-Feb-2011, 12:46
.....With that said though I do like the control of conversion due to playing with colour channels and twisting the A B of lab to get some pretty nice BW conversions .
Me too.
In a difficult situation, an Ektachrome tweaked with the colour channels will deliver tone transitions in the mid-range unobtainable on B&W without dodging and burning. It is a bit like getting a second chance with the lighting. This is an Ektachrome (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/TRNKOQPg90DcObI0POuQQLEfpvPR3UYyBfqHbeBESB8?feat=directlink) with a heavy backlight and dull skin tones.
By separating the yellows and the reds it was easy to give the boys volume. Cyan gave sparkle to the clothing. I would have been in trouble with a B&W negative. Try it with flowers some time.

pdmoylan
12-Feb-2011, 13:24
I just checked out the current issue of the UK magazine, Outdoor Photography with Strands images. There are few 8x10 images I have seen that can compare in similar quality to the 2 page spread, which appears to have been taken from a Cessna, Pilot or whatever.

I am pretty exclusively a color imager, but I could not have imagined the quality from Strand's MF DLSR.

Affordability as it is, my allegiance will remain with LF, provided I can find some film to shoot.

BetterSense
12-Feb-2011, 13:36
I don't do computer imaging, but I do sometimes shoot a scene on transparency film, and if I don't like the way it works, I will contact print it to B&W film and finish it properly.

Chris Strobel
12-Feb-2011, 15:52
Just spent some time at Strand's site.He's got some nice work there, but quite frankly on the web the work looks no better than the handful of landscape artist I have as contacts on flickr shooting much much cheaper gear.He says "Now I am shooting 8x10 quality at one frame per second and this with far more control than with film" So I guess MF digital capture has caught up with 8x10 film?I don't really follow the MF digital scene as its way out there in price, so I wasn't aware we've caught up with 8x10 hmmm

John NYC
12-Feb-2011, 16:09
I just checked out the current issue of the UK magazine, Outdoor Photography with Strands images. There are few 8x10 images I have seen that can compare in similar quality to the 2 page spread, which appears to have been taken from a Cessna, Pilot or whatever.


Many formats can make a convincing two-page spread in a magazine. You really need to go to very large (24x30, 40x50, and up), high-quality prints to be able to see where the images start to break down. The advantage of 8x10 is not something that could readily be ascertained in a 200 dpi magazine repro.

Living in New York City, I have the amazing good fortune of regularly being able to look in Chelsea galleries and the MOMA at huge prints by the best practitioners of the day, and I can can tell you that I can still tell a digital huge enlargement from an LF one. That might be changing in a few years time, but not today.

Robert Hughes
12-Feb-2011, 16:20
It's almost purely cost and DYI simplicity for me. And I like the look.

John NYC
12-Feb-2011, 16:21
Just spent some time at Strand's site.He's got some nice work there, but quite frankly on the web the work looks no better than the handful of landscape artist I have as contacts on flickr shooting much much cheaper gear.

Agreed. I think there are a few better and definitely far more artistic landscape shooters on flickr (and they don't get free Hasselblad gear). That's just a personal opinion.

It could be that people are confusing "I like it" with "It is the highest image quality". "I like it and it moves me" doesn't mean that the image quality is higher in terms of smoothness of tonality or pure resolution.

Maris Rusis
12-Feb-2011, 17:06
Black and white involves luminance pictures rather than chrominance pictures. Luminance only pictures do not get sent to the brainís visual lobes for interpretation but instead to the part of the brain that unravels abstractions; a very rich mental experience compared to the mere naming of colourful subject matter.

John Jarosz
12-Feb-2011, 17:38
Shoot what you like. But skies are never black, except at night.

Ken Lee
12-Feb-2011, 17:57
It might be more instructive to ask not why, but who shoots B&W :)

JMB
12-Feb-2011, 20:07
I think B&W is good for poor people who can't afford a lab.


This is one of the great advantages of being poor. --Joe

JMB
12-Feb-2011, 20:37
Black and white involves luminance pictures rather than chrominance pictures. Luminance only pictures do not get sent to the brainís visual lobes for interpretation but instead to the part of the brain that unravels abstractions; a very rich mental experience compared to the mere naming of colourful subject matter.

Very interesting claim. I find that certain black and white photographs have almost a euphoric impact, which I have never understood.

cosmicexplosion
12-Feb-2011, 21:35
Very interesting claim. I find that certain black and white photographs have almost a euphoric impact, which I have never understood.

i second that....very interesting!

Gary Tarbert
13-Feb-2011, 05:36
One of the main reasons for me is a supply demand situation , i can proccess B&W myself , Colour proccess in Perth where i live is around $7.00 a sheet !! (no competition)$8.00 for E6
only one lab does 5x4 or larger and they know it!! And i really feel i know when i feel an image in B&W and i shoot accordingly , I carry two dark slides in Velvia in my bag most of the time when shooting LF just in case , but i love the feel of B&W more nowadays
and find myself shooting more B&W thesedays. Cheers Gary

Ken Lee
13-Feb-2011, 05:37
"Black and white involves luminance pictures rather than chrominance pictures. Luminance only pictures do not get sent to the brainís visual lobes for interpretation but instead to the part of the brain that unravels abstractions; a very rich mental experience compared to the mere naming of colourful subject matter".

Bravo !!

Gary Tarbert
13-Feb-2011, 06:50
I wish i had said that in future conversations i probably will:) Cheers Gary

rguinter
13-Feb-2011, 07:12
Black and white involves luminance pictures rather than chrominance pictures. Luminance only pictures do not get sent to the brainís visual lobes for interpretation but instead to the part of the brain that unravels abstractions; a very rich mental experience compared to the mere naming of colourful subject matter.

Quite an interesting hypothesis... but it needs appropriate scientific/experimental references.

Where in the Experimental Psychology literature is this phenomenon discussed?

Bob G.

rguinter
13-Feb-2011, 07:17
Shoot what you like. But skies are never black, except at night.

They can be when shooting the right film & filter combination.

Bob G.

Bob Kerner
13-Feb-2011, 07:27
Quite an interesting hypothesis... but it needs appropriate scientific/experimental references.

Where in the Experimental Psychology literature is this phenomenon discussed?

Bob G.

Since this has turned into a dissertation lit review:
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982200005637

Except I think it stands for the reverse proposition!

This might help, too. But it's old and written by scientists from Kodak, so it's immediately suspect since we know they were trying to sell color film:
http://www.psy.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/blake/343_S2007/PDFs/HurvichJameson1957.pdf

How about this for a reason: In a world where nearly everything is presented in color, it's nice to do something different. When I give a B&W image to someone, I can see them react differently. I can see them actually inspect and ponder the image in a way they do not with color. And I don't really care why; they just like it/find it unique.

Ken Lee
13-Feb-2011, 07:48
Bob -

The first article seemed preoccupied with color vision as an advantage for biological survival. The second article proved too long to skim effectively. Could you summarize it please ?

Because most of us see in color, B&W is at least one small step more abstract or subjective than color.

Some people like that which is detailed, realistic and objective. Others prefer that which is vague, impressionistic and subjective. Our preferences are likely conditioned by gender, environment, culture, and what used to be call one's "constitution". Although we all have a basic inclination, our preferences change over time.

Fortunately, we all get to choose whatever we like at any given moment.

Bob Kerner
13-Feb-2011, 08:01
Bob -

The first article seemed preoccupied with color vision as an advantage for biological survival.

Could be. I just skimmed it myself.

[/QUOTE] The second article proved too long to skim effectively. Could you summarize it please ?[/QUOTE]

No.

I was poking fun---rather ineffectively I see-- at Bob G's request for supporting documentation on the original assertion that the brain processes B&W differently than color. My humor-engine might be off kilter this morning.

I do know that there is a measurable link between color, B&W images and how the emotion center of our brain processes the information. The first citation I found pertained to color perception, race and emotions. So I think there is evidence out there that anyone could find if they want to investigate further.

My point, very poorly explicated, was: you don't need to have a scientific, citation-supported reason to do B&W imaging. Do what you like. We're not doing randomized clinical trials here, we're making pictures because they either please us or please our audience. Why I shoot B&W needn't influence the OP or anyone else. Do it. Or don't do it. But I don't think any of us purposely set out in the morning to stimulate people's amygdalas with our choice of film.

JMB
13-Feb-2011, 10:06
[QUOTE=Bob Kerner;686766]Since this has turned into a dissertation lit review:
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982200005637

Except I think it stands for the reverse proposition!

This might help, too. But it's old and written by scientists from Kodak, so it's immediately suspect since we know they were trying to sell color film:
http://www.psy.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/blake/343_S2007/PDFs/HurvichJameson1957.pdf


I have not had an opportunity to read these articles yet, but I certainly will. Still, I have in mind that brain chemistry is relevant in addition to philosophical considerations [perhaps in light of the chemistry]. Plato and Socrates had a very specific conception of education and thinking, which they generally described as dialectics. And for them, learning springs from contrasting ideas, not training, naming, or memorizing information -- a rich mode of mental activity aimed at understanding and grasping essences as opposed to simply memorizing or identifying objects. Sharp distinctions and differences trigger thought and mental life, whereas "sameness" is unstimulating.

Indeed it seems quite intuitive that the mind would be triggered to attempt to understand, analyze, and categorize when it is confronted with stark differences as opposed to more uniform input. To be sure, if the mind were confronted with nothing but "samness" we would not even have a conception of "same" for there would be no alternative experience to motivate the conception, hence mental life would be very weak.

Black and white images seem to present fewer and stronger contrasting tones [greater differences between more discrete tones rendered on a gray scale between black and white only]; whereas each of many colors [some complementary] in a color photograph contains incremental differences in shades and no two colors are nearly as sharply distinct as black and white. Hence, it seems that a black and white experience is more stimulating in the sense of literally "thought provoking" than color. And if something like this is true, it would explain why some folks prefer black and white and others color in a way that is more meaningful than simply saying that the preference is entirely subjective in the sense of purely arbitrary.

And I suppose this would be one way to explain what also strikes me as the stronger impact of black and white photographs with fairly high contrast vs a perfectly recorded, complete gray scale.

Brian C. Miller
13-Feb-2011, 11:21
Black and white involves luminance pictures rather than chrominance pictures. Luminance only pictures do not get sent to the brainís visual lobes for interpretation but instead to the part of the brain that unravels abstractions; a very rich mental experience compared to the mere naming of colourful subject matter.

I've been trying to find a source for that for further reading. Can you give me a clue where to look?

Thanks!

Brian C. Miller
13-Feb-2011, 11:50
The first article seemed preoccupied with color vision as an advantage for biological survival. The second article proved too long to skim effectively. Could you summarize it please ?

The article is an analysis of color perception, and analyses of other working color physiology theories of the mid 1950's.

During my surfing, I found these:
The man who heard his paintbox hiss (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/3653012/The-man-who-heard-his-paintbox-hiss.html), The Guardian, Feb 13, 2011
The science of aesthetics (http://thetartan.org/2006/10/2/scitech/aesthetics), The Tartan, Oct 6, 2006

The Guardian article is about synaesthesia, and its effect on Wassily Kandinsky. The Tartan article is about neuroesthetics. Neither of them address black and white perception and abstraction, but they are interesting.

Maris Rusis
13-Feb-2011, 15:43
I've been trying to find a source for that for further reading. Can you give me a clue where to look?

Thanks!

I'm the original source. My post is a highly condensed analysis of hundreds of interviews, formal and informal, with people looking at photographs. The opportunity to do this came from years as a gallerist, an exhibitor of photographs, sometime director of a photographic gallery, critic, and commentator.

A typical exhibition of thirty colour photographs takes the average opening night viewer only about 10 to 15 minutes to process. While I'm working the crowd the questions are always the same: where was this taken, when did this happen, what's the name of this. 99% of the mental activity going on in the room is dedicated to identifying the subject and filing it away in a comfortable real-world context. After the hors d'oeuvres are finished and there is only red wine left I don't see knots of people gathered in front of a picture arguing about what it means. That's reserved for black and white exhibitions.

A black and white photograph, however it looks, could have been otherwise. Its appearance is not rigidly dictated by subject matter and it is a limited source of information about that subject matter. On the other hand it is rich in hints about the choices the photographer made. And inevitably those choices are driven by the photographer's agenda. The viewers challenge is to deconvolute the agenda from the visual clues in the photograph; unravelling an abstraction in other words.

Mental process that invoke simile, metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, connotation, allusion, and illusion are dragged into the process to make sense of what is being looked at. People with a richer intellectual history of looking at photographs see more than the casual viewer. I've watched many people "mentalise" black and white photographs and their destination is understanding rather than identification.

As for the conjecture that these thoughts happen in different parts of the brain, well that comes from my psychiatrist. He'd know.

Greg Miller
13-Feb-2011, 17:09
It is interesting how this thread devolved into a "my art is better than your art" discussion.

The OP asked about the differences between creating a B&W image via B&W film or color film (with subsequent conversion to B&W).

It was not a question about the aesthetic value of B&W images vs color images.

rguinter
13-Feb-2011, 19:44
I'm the original source. My post is a highly condensed analysis of hundreds of interviews, formal and informal, with people looking at photographs....

As for the conjecture that these thoughts happen in different parts of the brain, well that comes from my psychiatrist. He'd know.



OK now I understand. At first I thought you were citing something from the literature of experimental psychology. And after a "nearly complete" career as a human factors engineer I have never heard of this hypothesis before: that B&W and color "pictures" are processed in different parts of the brain. Seems to me they would both be processed in the visual cortex as that's where the visual circuits terminate. So I see that your contention is strictly an opinion based on conversations with gallery visitors.

I'm also not convinced about psychiatrists having any rigorous knowledge of brain architecture. Or that they can specify with precision exactly where in the brain any specific type of sensory information is sent for final processing. That's more the realm of neurophysiology and I doubt the average psychologist/psychiatrist is very well versed in the subject.

So please excuse me for being skeptical of your hypothesis.

Bob G.

Ari
13-Feb-2011, 19:55
I just like to get some quiet time in the darkroom :)
I shoot B&W when I want a B&W image, and colour when I want a colour image.
When printing traditionally, making a BW print from a colour neg does not translate in the same way as it would were it a BW neg.
I'm looking to get into colour processing at home, but even then, I'll shoot B&W when the subject warrants it.

John Kasaian
13-Feb-2011, 20:58
Why shoot B&W???????
Because it's fun! :D

Roger Cole
13-Feb-2011, 21:50
Why shoot B&W???????
Because it's fun! :D

Bestest [sic!] reason of all! From exposure to development to printing.

If it isn't fun for you, do something else that is. We get WAY too tied up around here in what produces the best image of a certain type.

patrickjames
14-Feb-2011, 04:52
Why shoot black and white instead of color? You can buy yourself a golf cart and bring groceries back from the store with it. If you try to kid yourself that it is a car, it ain't. It is good enough to get groceries though.

Almost all of these threads on the internet come down to a question of convenience. The questioners ask because they aren't sure and want to be convinced that the easier way is the better way. If you want convenience than yes it is easier to fiddle with the conversion in the computer, or to shoot it digitally for that matter. Convenience doesn't equal quality though, although it doesn't necessarily hurt quality either. It sounds like the OP is a hobbyist so he only has himself to please. In that case he should do whatever makes him enjoy photography. A lot of people like spending time on the computer fiddling with images.

To the bit of a side slant this thread took with the posting of the Strand image, I suggest you take a look at Olaf Otto Becker's work. Same subject matter, but look at the tones. Or you can take a look at Christopher Burkett's work. Side by side there is just no comparison. One of the biggest blows to the beauty that photography is capable of is going to come when large format color film disappears.

John Bowen
14-Feb-2011, 05:38
I shoot B&w because I can control the entire process, from soup to nuts, in my home darkroom, using nothing more complicated than a lightbulb suspended from the ceiling. I find the experience/process very liberating.

Ymmv,