Thursday, 15 March 2018

Colour or Black and White?

Robin Wong was asking whether we present in black and white or colour. I had been pondering similarly as part a recent blog article - there I was looking at an old end of the line railway station, in some disrepair and it suited a vintage monochrome treatment because the weathered and worn pink roof tiles, patches of green, took away from the shape and the vintaginess of the presentation. Here's another one I like in monochrome.

Bicycle at Pulau Ketam
In the above scene, there is some light from the sky and the narrow street accentuates the chiaroscuro. There are flashes of bright red and other colours in the scene and these detract from the play of light, in my opinion.

I reckon part of this empathy to monochrome is having shot film, fondled the silver gelatin paper and gazed at the lustrous blacks that are quite different from modern inkjet black or screen rgb(0,0,0). There are heaps of new gen photographers who do black and white treatments digitally though, whether they went to Fine Art school or pressed my D-76 under their fingernails I don't know.

Black and White print can also be extremed - instead of a Tri-X or Agfapan patina, you can just move sliders in Lightroom to your heart's content, crushing detail.

There are times when colour definitely works.

Black Cat not in a Coalmine
Apple Girl
And then there is that purgatory where it is neither colourful nor truly monochromatic

Three 200 hp SuzukiMarines

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