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 by ~ania♥