Black & White Photography re-discoverd By Stephan Fouquaert.
Lately I work often in Black and White, no wonder that people ask me why? Well, it seems that Black and White images are on a come back. Especially since most youngsters grew up in the era of color. They rediscover the beauty of monochrome images and are demanding shoots in B&W.
Not only customers and photographers have noticed the increased interest in B&W. Camera producers such as Phase One and others developed B&W cameras fitted with CCD’s or CMOS sensors without a Bayer or Foveon filter. Resulting in pure B&W captures with extreme details.
When customers are asked why they adore Black and White photography, the answer remains very often outstanding at best I get an “ It’s kind of cool”.
I have my own views and opinion why so many do get attracted to Black and White.
It’s forgiving and universal, no matter if you shoot portraits, landscapes, urban or architecture.
Color photography is very sensitive to lighting situations and subject to a correct White Balance. A mix of different light sources makes it extreme difficult to get the colors right. Different light temperatures are a photographer’s nightmare.
B&W photography has no issue with the WB and only reacts on contrast, light or no light. Even low light conditions work well in B&W and tend to create a moody atmosphere.
Colors tend to be terribly distracting if not applied right and can take the focus away from the main subject. As a portrait photographer, I often tend to lower the saturation and find that as the color fades away the images starts to speak, it gets character. Yes it is stripped back, it is Spartan and raw but most of all it is honest and shows the true person.
Computer screens are flooding the viewer’s retina with millions of colors. And yet, I love ‘Monochrome’ there is such a variety of what can be achieved in a photo.
Black and White sounds boring – but the fact is that there are so many shades in between, especially today with the 14 or even 16 Bit camera’s and high dynamic range. The challenge is to bring them all out in an image.
The creative process with black and white images is so… artistic. It’s like molding clay – you can shape it into a myriad of shapes. Black and White images can be strong, high contrast and powerful – or they can be so soft, gentle and subtle.
Of course the black and white versus color debate is a very personal one. For every person I ask who loves shooting mono there are others who much prefer the vibrancy of color photography.