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Color vs B&W article
Old 05-19-2018   #1
webOSUser
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Color vs B&W article

I found the article very interesting.

https://petapixel.com/2018/05/18/why...debate-at-all/
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Old 05-19-2018   #2
Ko.Fe.
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I'm all ears and eyes to learn from you why it is interesting.
Was where something you didn't know about HCB?
I'm interested if using of BS word in article made it interesting as well.
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Old 05-19-2018   #3
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The power and beauty of black and white has been acknowledged for centuries in art. Painters used brilliant colour pigments many, many years ago, but mediums like etching and lithography were nearly always created in B&W. Why? B&W has a way of expressing things that colour doesn't. It's just how it is. Sometimes I'll take a photograph of a work I have going on a canvas or piece of pottery and convert it to B&W to ck the values. This is an old artist's trick because colour can be difficult to get the values right on, and hue can trick our eyes into overlooking saturation. Often I like the conversion so much that I will later do a piece in B&W. The American painter Franz Kline went to painting large pieces in black and white, mostly due to economics. The colour paint was too expensive, and he didn't have the money. The look was very powerful, and would never have worked in anything but B&W. Sadly, in another economic move, he used regular house paint on lots of works and they are now falling apart.

Things are not always black and white though :]

Colour can express a lot of feelings that B&W cannot, especially primaries like red and blue. Want to brighten up your kitchen? A nice coat of light yellow on the walls will usually work wonders, and blue can be relaxing in the bedroom. Red will give a totally different feeling, which is why you seldom see red walls.

Values can be tricky. Here's a coffee house sketch of a pottery plate design. The values of the two figures on the right drawing look a little off. The pink looks maybe too light.

https://i.imgur.com/CaCPOXw.jpg

The B&W conversion shows this, so I don't know what is wrong, if anything.

https://i.imgur.com/YRXwQBI.jpg

I converted things again and got this, which has that pink figure in the right plate looking still too light, but too dark on the left side plate.

https://i.imgur.com/vSePkBV.jpg

So I tried another change, and now the pink figure (that is now green) looks too strong in the left side plate, and too light in the right side plate!

https://i.imgur.com/MnfX4n8.jpg

I finally said to hell with it and made this. My frustration shows in the !#!!*! pink figure I never was happy with, except when it was green, which is how the next one will be. This photo doesn't look exactly like the piece does in real life, it's just as close as the camera could manage.

https://i.imgur.com/SfQwXUw.jpg
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Old 05-19-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webOSUser View Post
I found the article very interesting.

https://petapixel.com/2018/05/18/why...debate-at-all/
Thanks. I found it interesting too: a decent potted history of B&W and colour film usage and attitudes. And a worthwhile article from Petapixel for a change!
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Old 05-19-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I'm all ears and eyes to learn from you why it is interesting.
Was where something you didn't know about HCB?
I'm interested if using of BS word in article made it interesting as well.
Fair enough. The article was interesting to me for a couple of reasons:
1) I learned details about how some photographers felt about color photography.
2) I learned about HCB's experiment with color photography.
3) How seeing in B&W impacted photographer thought during the early days of color photography.

The use of bulls**t didn't increase my interest in the article. It is a s quote and made for a dramatic section title.

Steve W
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Old 05-19-2018   #6
Erik van Straten
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Walter Evans? Never heard of. Maybe he means Walker Evans.


Erik.
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Old 05-19-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webOSUser View Post
Fair enough. The article was interesting to me for a couple of reasons:
1) I learned details about how some photographers felt about color photography.
2) I learned about HCB's experiment with color photography.
3) How seeing in B&W impacted photographer thought during the early days of color photography.

The use of BS didn't increase my interest in the article. It is a s quote and made for a dramatic section title.

Steve W
OK!

Ansel Adams in Color. It is name of the book. In this book they have his own writings about Color vs BW. But no BS drama.
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Old 05-19-2018   #8
David Hughes
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Hi,

FWIW, a lot of colours are, comparatively, modern inventions. I'm thinking of the so called coal-tar colours...

And some of us started in B&W and thought it natural for photographs and then had to learn how to cope with colour film, when we could afford if from our pocket money.

Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 05-19-2018 at 12:22. Reason: Extra CRLF's... :-(
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Old 05-19-2018   #9
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I'm sure the assertion that color photography only became practical in the 1950's will come as a surprise to all those WWII photographers who shot in color...

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Old 05-19-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolfe View Post
I'm sure the assertion that color photography only became practical in the 1950's will come as a surprise to all those WWII photographers who shot in color...
I thought Kodachrome in 35mm came out in 1936?
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Old 05-19-2018   #11
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I found the article rather naive. Capturing reality and looking at pictures are different things.

Stereoscopic images are even closer to reality compared with color pictures, and technically feasible decades ago. Against all efforts by the photo, tv and cinema industry all these years to sell gear, nobody likes them.
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Old 05-19-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliasK View Post
I found the article rather naive. Capturing reality and looking at pictures are different things.

Stereoscopic images are even closer to reality compared with color pictures [but] nobody likes them.
I disagree. In art and critical theory the photographic image is considered unique - all other kinds of picture are representations of reality, whereas a photograph is not just a picture but also reality itself.

Susan Sontag likened photographs to a physical trace of reality, like footprints. Even Fox Talbot, central to to the invention of photography back in the reign of Queen Victoria, recognised this, calling the photographic image “the mirror with a memory”.

What you wrote applies to ordinary pictures, like paintings, but not to photographs. You should have instead said, “Capturing reality and looking at pictures are not different things when regarding a photograph.”

I once memorably read of the photograph described as a strange and bizarre object, since it is simultaneously just a picture and also an event - a frozen slice of reality, of historical time.

As for stereo/3D images, it’s the inconvenience - glasses and headsets and faff - that holds them back. If technology one day allows 3D images to be seen without accessories and as simply as printed or on-screen photographs, the flat 2D photograph will disappear from mainstream use, just as happened with B&W photography.
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Old 05-19-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC View Post
I disagree. In art and critical theory the photographic image is considered unique - all other kinds of picture are representations of reality, whereas a photograph is not just a picture but also reality itself.
Not surprising there is disagreement, especially in art and critical theory. Some photographs represent reality; others don't. And a lot depends on your conception of reality.
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Old 05-19-2018   #14
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Not surprising there is disagreement, especially in art and critical theory. Some photographs represent reality; others don't. And a lot depends on your conception of reality.
Bottom line is that a photograph is always two faced - both a picture and captured reality. It’s not possible to take a photograph without capturing reality - however abstract the image. After all, whatever the image, it’s a direct imprint of light from whatever’s in front of the lens.

What varies is which aspect the photographer and, more importantly, a viewer is interested in: the image itself or the reality (i.e. the event) that created it. Personally, both qualities are crucial to me; whereas I’ve plenty of friends who see photos as straightforward pictures. And that difference in view is entirely fine...
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Old 05-19-2018   #15
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Rich and Frank, I tried to write a reply, but I was hooked looking at your portfolios. Great work both of you!
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Old 05-19-2018   #16
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Rich and Frank, I tried to write a reply, but I was hooked looking at your portfolios. Great work both of you!
Thanks! Bizarrely, I get as much pleasure from reading and writing about photographic theory as I do from taking photographs. Make of that what you will...!
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Old 05-19-2018   #17
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Rich and Frank, I tried to write a reply, but I was hooked looking at your portfolios. Great work both of you!
Someone looked. I'm humbled.
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Naive? Uninformed?
Old 05-19-2018   #18
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Naive? Uninformed?

Helen Levitt was a great street photographer, but she didn't invent the genre. Any photo history book has the earlier pioneers - Steiglitz's early NY street photos come to mind.
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Old 05-20-2018   #19
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Helen Levitt was a great street photographer, but she didn't invent the genre. Any photo history book has the earlier pioneers - Steiglitz's early NY street photos come to mind.

And Paul Martin in Britain using a modified Facile camera disguised as a parcel being carried under the arm.


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Old 05-20-2018   #20
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An interesting article on what can be learned about ancient Greeks and their perception of colors from language-
https://aeon.co/essays/can-we-hope-t...aw-their-world


"...Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, too, observed these features of Greek chromatic vision. The versatility of xanthos and chloros led him to infer a peculiar fluidity of Greek colour vocabulary. The Greeks, he said, were not interested in defining the different hues...Goethe also noted that ancient colour theorists tended to derive colours from a mixture of black and white, which are placed on the two opposite poles of light and dark, and yet are still called ‘colours’. The ancient conception of black and white as colours – often primary colours – is remarkable when compared with Isaac Newton’s experiments on the decomposition of light by refraction through a prism..."

And of course the final, conclusive discussion of modern color film and B&W film:
https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2014/11/09/
Nothing more to be said after that one....
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Old 05-20-2018   #21
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Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I thought Kodachrome in 35mm came out in 1936?

Possibly the wider use of color print film in the 1950's allowing the sharing of color prints as people would b&w?

Steve W

Last edited by webOSUser : 05-20-2018 at 03:09. Reason: Better explaining the point.
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