Why Black & White?

Young Acorn

Young Acorn

I got a comment on my German language photo blog on the picture above that said: “Beautiful picture, but why black and white?” Comments there are a seldom enough occurrence, so six weeks later I replied:
Well, look:
I almost exclusively work in black and white. Colour is concrete, black and white is one step further to abstraction and therefore offers more freedom to create. Form, structure and composition are more important than the everyday object being pictured. And then there’s the haptic element of the materials and the paper. For example, this picture (the original, on the internet only a vague representation is possible) has a rough surface like hand-made paper but shows minute detail that seem to emerge from within the deeper layers of the paper. It isn’t black and white at all, but this palladium-platinum print has a warm brownish cast in the center that cools off to the margins. This has to do with the humidity of the paper when exposed. The tonal scale is smooth like with no other process, but maximum density is lower than most. Such prints can’t be shown side-to-side with baryta prints or, God forbid, inkjet prints.
If you’re interested in this, it is best to look at as many originals as you can get to in museums, galeries or at portfolio reviews.
End quote. Reading back over this, I realize that black and white prints are an aquired taste as so much is in aesthetics.

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2 Responses to “Why Black & White?”

  1. Cain Doherty Says:

    i would say this scene is made for B&W, so much variation in texture and B&W allows us to concentrate on other aspects that make these shots tick. backing the leaves by the darker out-of-focus area does it for me, if your angle had have been different the leaves would have been lost in the grass.

  2. Print Offer « Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] for 99 € plus actual shipping cost. Young Acorn “Young Acorn” has already been shown and discussed on this site. It is a 8×10 inch platinum-palladium contact print on Weston Diploma Parchment […]

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