Tuesday, January 10, 2012

dreaming in black and white


Alright, I confess – I’m one of those irritating people who look at a beautiful black and white photo and say ‘I wonder what that would look like in colour?’ I’m a colour addict; I love it, yearn for it, am inspired by it, delight in it. So I wasn’t too happy when we came up with this theme but, hey, I like a challenge.

Even though I enjoy looking at other people's black and white shots, I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately taken a photo in black and white. I’ve converted quite a few colour ones when I felt the colour wasn’t doing anything to add to the picture, but I find it almost impossible to bring myself to shoot with black and white in mind.

One thing I really do like about black and white is its strong graphic qualities and I also love that sort of glowing effect that some people manage to achieve. Taking the colour away immediately puts a photo at one remove from ‘real’ life and imparts a dream-like quality to it. (They say most people dream in black and white; I don’t know how true this is as I’ve always dreamt in vivid colour - see, even in sleep I have to have colour!) Something I often feel in winter is this sense of not quite being part of the world; it's a half-asleep, dream-like time for me. In summer I’m outside a lot and feel like I belong in the world; in winter, I’m more often inside and looking out on it, and I feel a bit disconnected, and even slightly lost. It's a feeling that's emphasised by the soft, muffling effect of snow on both sound and colour; black and white shots do convey this feeling a lot more effectively than colour.

The photo above had very little colour in it to begin with – just the brown trunks of the trees. I converted to black and white and added an Orton effect to give it something of an other-worldly look.  ~Ania♥ has also added an Orton effect to her picture, which I think gives a very dreamy, not-quite-there feeling to the scene. In the comments section of her photo on Flickr, she shows the same scene in autumn colour; go and have a look - it makes for an interesting comparison. Does colour make you feel most alive, or do you prefer black and white?

gilly of the camera points both ways

winter visit

winter visit by ~ania♥

15 comments:

Dorian Susan said...

Beautiful images both. I too don't think much about black and white, and prefer colour. Lately however black and white is popping up in my post processing more. Don't know what that's about, but going with the flow.

Anna said...

Hi Gilly,
Both of these images are gorgeous and capture the mood of winter! When it comes to color vs B&W, I'm torn. I'm a huge color lover, but I always feel that there is nothing like the beauty of a great B&W. B&W is so much a part of our photographic tradition and has such power. Stripped of color, images speak loudly of form, feeling, and content. Yep, nothing like B&W!!!!!

Stephanie said...

I'm pretty much the opposite of you! I love color but I learned photography by shooting in black and white and developing my own prints in the darkroom. So I can't help but be drawn to B&W images. I see color and often think, "hmm I wonder what that would look like in black & white." I love the simplicity and the emphasis on composition with B&W photos. The two above are absolutely gorgeous. Looking forward to more!!

gina said...

I love the old black and whites from the 30s and 40s -- still holding up after all these years. Both these images are simply beautiful!

Kelly Warren said...

Both of these are beautiful scenes! I'm a color girl too, and I too dream in vivid vivid color. Fascinated by the "Orten" effect though. Must find out what that is...

Oliag said...

These are gorgeous photos! I will have to look into the Orton effect...it is beautiful

Lorinda said...

These photos are both stunning. Images like this are why I miss snow so much. Despite being a color girl as well something about b/w gets me every time....

Kirstin said...

I had never thought to use the Orton effect on a bw picture, Gilly. I must give it a go! Thank you.

Gilly said...

For anyone interested in the Orton effect, I have a free downloadable pdf about it on my blog: http://gilly-walker.com/free-stuff/

Kat Sloma said...

I love both of these... trees in winter are perfect for black and white. It's all about the shapes and form, which is highlighted by the monochromatic nature of black and white.

urban muser said...

these photos are both so dreamy and beautiful!

jmeyersforeman said...

lovely dreamy photos, the feeling is magical

Holly {Soupatraveler} said...

these two look great together gilly! and yep, this is the perfect time of year to push those color photos into black and white!

homeschoolceo said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love black and white, but also love color. Sometimes one can be more dramatic than the other.

Ashley Sisk said...

oooh these are so dreamy - great pairing. I tend to think and dream in color so black and white can be a stretch for me.

Post a Comment

thank you for visiting. take a moment and say hi!