Photographs & Photoshopping, Resources, Thoughts & Theory, Tutorials &Technique
Black And White
There’s a line in Paul Simon’s anthemic KODACHROME that has always rubbed me the wrong way:
If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they’d never match
My sweet imagination
And everything looks worse in black and white.
It’s always pained me to think Paul and I would forever disagree on this (the bit about everything looking worse in B/W, not the bit about the girls, necessarily) And then one day I heard a later version of the song and he actually changed the words to everything look better in black and white. He’d come to his senses and I could finally stop sending him all those letters and living in violation of my restraining order. I love it when harmony is restored to the universe.
On our Lumen Dei workshops we encourage people to strongly consider treating an image as monochrome when colour does not actively add to the image. Black and white has an ability to focus us away from the otherwise powerful pull of colour and towards emotion, form, and tone. It’s also been really hard to get good black and white prints in the digital medium without some kind of education. And that’s where I am going with all this. Two resources, among many, that are particularily good sources of teaching on B/W conversion.
1. Kelby Training has an excellent online course called Color to Black and White Artistry by Katrin Eismann – if books are not your thing, join Katrin Eismann as she walks you through the process of turning color images into stunning B/W images. Kelby Training is an excellent value for education – if you’re looking to keep your edge sharp, or sharpen some of the dull bits, it’s well worth the $20/month (I think that’s what I pay…)
2. Mastering Black and White Digital Photography, Michael Freeman. Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Freeman’s book The Photographers Eye, and his book on Black and White is just as exceptional. You can find it HERE on Amazon for less than $20.