Ever since I bought my DSLR camera in 2014, I've shot in color. It seemed the natural thing to do. Black and white photography, while I appreciated those who worked and excelled in that medium, didn't appeal to me. Color photos have always been a part of my experience, even when I was a kid. Why would I change?
However, I did begin to experiment with the format in 2016. It began when, as I edited photos, I would create a black and white copy. Sometimes the copy would be better than the original! Then in August of 2016 I read Eric Kim's e-book, Monochrome Manual. It was the first time that I began to understand the appeal of taking black and white photos. More importantly, the e-book (and companion video) helped me to understand how to change my camera settings so I could effectively shoot in black and white.
Part of my challenge in shooting in black and white is finding an effective way to enrich the images, to make them vibrant. In this image of an Asian woman carrying flowers on 231st street, there are a number of elements I believe help to make this photo engaging to the viewer, even with a lack of color.
Regardless of what format you shoot in, or how technically proficient you may be, luck still plays a factor in how your photo turns out. I saw this woman on Broadway in The Bronx holding balloons. I knew this would be a great subject to shoot. I took roughly a half-dozen. The one below was by far the best of the bunch, mainly because of the fish's eye being turned toward the camera. It gives it a life that the other photos in the series didn't possess.
Shooting in black and white can help hide a lot of sins. However, sometimes a bad shot is just that--bad! . This one of a woman in her house dress is overexposed and poorly framed., No amount of editing can rescue it. Oh well... practice, practice, and more practice!
In conclusion, shooting in black and white is giving me an opportunity to develop as a photographer. While this format does possess unique technical and creative challenges. However, many are the same as taking color photos. It's about capturing the moment, and having your images speak to your audience in the clearest voice possible.
Now, I'm going to take a chance and shoot in this format for a while. Let's see what develops!