do you see differently?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jnanian, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,234
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i have to admit for the longest time color film for me was for family snapshots, events with family & friends and black and white was always for "artsy" stuff - documentary pictures, portraits ...
    now that i have kids and don't find myself having the time (or energy) to go into "the dark" to process / print b&w artsy photographs, i am shooting more and more color film. it has taken me a little time to figure it out, but i think i see things in color a little more than i used to.
    don't get me wrong, i'm not color blind ( well, blue-grey-green, but that is a different thread :smile: ) but for the longest time i wouldn't shoot in color cause it was "snapshot film," and now i am ....

    anyone else see things differently?
    shooting b&w instead of color or visa versa and enjoying the results ?

    -john
     
  2. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I was suprised at having to re-train myself to think in B&W. I shot about 75% B&W/ infrared monochrome in the States - New York especially. Here in Kiev, I find myself looking at the world in color, and usually have to tell myself to remember to load the 35mm with B&W. LF on the other hand, is still largely monochrome, though I did just pick up a box of 9x12cm color slide fim.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,234
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    thanks for your thoughts jay and jim ...

    not sure what it was --- for years, maybe the term "machine print" shy'd me away thinking that color was an inferior medium. even though i had been exposed some really beautiful color prints in galleries + museums, and i assisted commercial photogs who shot hundreds of frames of color prints and transparancy film. just the same, it was snapshots / T4 point and shoot where the color film was quarrentined.

    now that i think about it, i bought a pentax auto110 about 5 years ago, and i think my lazyness in not buying a "film slitter" and re-spooling b&w film (and buying something like 100 cassetts of fuji 110 film for like $15-shipped on FEEbay) was my first real submergion with color film. --- what was i thinking ? i don't have time to process the sheets or rolls of b&w myself, but i have time to slit 35mm film and painstakingly respool it into a 110 cassette?

    now, i never remember what film is in my camera (or film holders) ( i just go by asa in the masking tape or that the camera is set to). i keep buying bunches of rolls of fuji color and outdated slide film and now for some reason i see not only contrast, but color, it is really strange.

    maybe i am just a slouch who wants an excuse why i send film to the lab, since i can't stay awake long enough in the dark at night to process-process-process...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2005
  4. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

    Messages:
    2,016
    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    I don't think that I see differently, except when I shoot in color IR. That's something different altogether. :D
     
  5. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    Fremantle, W
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I don't know if it counts, but I see differently when I'm shooting Velvia to when I'm shooting other types of film. I look for the more vivid colours, and I also see the potential of subdued colours rendered more vividly.

    I shoot colour for 99% of my work.

    Cheers,
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    While I enjoy a good B&W image, they just don't stir my inner being the way a good color images does. I particulary love warm highlights and reflections (which is probably why I use an 81A or 81B frequently).
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,974
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Having printed both color and black and white, I find black and white to be more surreal and less about reality.

    We (most of us) don't see in black and white in our daily lives so the black and white image takes on a surreal fantasy like persona that perhaps makes us stop and look. We may just walk past another color image unless it was very well done.


    Michael
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I shoot color I tend to use film and subjects that are more monochrome in nature. I can appreciate really vivid color work from others, but find my own efforts with vivid subjects to be rather lacking. Wahsed out pastels and faded colors seem to be of more successful for me.

    I do like to shoot polaroid film with an old SX70 and may explore this further using "grey area" means to make enlargements.
     
  9. highpeak

    highpeak Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I shoot color and B&W, but more on B&W. For color, I prefer print film like Reala 100, I like the latitude and color very much, but one thing make me not happy with it is I can't control the outcome of the print, the machine print is just not consistent. I don't want to spend a lot of money to get them custom printed, so I shot less and less of them.

    when shooting different mediums, I do intend to look for different aspect of the subjects. I will look for color contrast and shape for color film, for B&W, I just try to find lines and shades.
     
  10. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I remember reading years ago that the subject of a color photograph is the color itself. I use this as a guide as to whether I shoot in B&W or color. Since I am usually interested in things I therefore shoot far more B&W than color.
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    No, I really don't see differently. On the other hand, when I am shooting color I have to see more than with BW. You have to see the color not just light, texture, relationship and contrast etc..... All of those things that make a fine BW print will make a fine Color photo as long as the color is taken into consideration along with everything else.

    Gerald, I do not agree that the subject of color is the color. It is one part of the whole though.
     
  12. steve

    steve Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    I've been shooting nearly 100% color since 1982. Color is a totally different type of photography. A successful color photo needs to be in color. It can't just be a photo that was taken with color film in place of B&W (the problem with at least 80-90% of color photos).

    The successful color photo does not work in B&W - or, will not work as well as a B&W. Seeing images that work because they're in color is a very difficult thing to do, and is what I find fascinating about working in color.
     
  13. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    Fremantle, W
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I disagree somewhat - I think a successful colour shot should have all the features a good B&W shot has (texture, contrast, form, etc) with colour being almost a secondary feature of the shot. Most of my own favourites work nearly as well as B&W as they do when colour is included.

    But that's just the way I see it ......

    Cheers,
     
  14. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I agree with Graeme, a successful color image needs texture, contrast, form etc., but for me I warm highlights are something I look for. This is primarily the reason I don't shoot much B&W; I need to separate the two in my mind, since I look for something different when with B&W than color.
     
  15. dr bob

    dr bob Member

    Messages:
    871
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Annapolis, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As this is the “philosophy” forum, allow me to philosophize a moment. I see some scenes that must be recorded in color. As I do mostly landscape, I see a lot of green stuff. To my eye, it is lovely shades and subtle differences in tone and color(s). I would love to make a b&w but after many years of experience, I know better. I know I will get a pallet of flat gray mud that does nothing for me. That scene must be in color to work. I am reminded of the famous picture of the Afghanistan woman with the colorful eyes in National Geographics (cover) a few years ago. Certainly that dramatic photograph would not have worked nearly as well in b&w.

    OTOH, there are images which I "see" must have a more dramatic rendering. Here I find that color can be very distracting. E.g., the portrait of a man wearing bright clothing such as a brilliant red bow tie or shirt when I really want the viewer to concentrate on his expression. Movies: the last scene in Casablanca of Ingrid Bergman looking back at Humphry Bogart as she walks through the rain to the departing plane.

    There are exceptions to all “rules”. What about the portrait of the 4-year-old dressed all in white standing against a gray background holding a brilliantly colored basket of flowers? B&w? Color? Why not both!
     
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I often have an expectation of what the setting will look like when shooting with a particular film. The expectation of the print will often change once I get to printing, but the initial 'vision' is often close. Some times there will be great deviation from intitial vision to final print and sometimes I have no idea when shooting and rely on the beauty of the media to pull me through. At the bare minimum I try to compose in a manner that will facilitate some aspect or goal -- as in: these colours in this patern would be great or these objects in this setting are so ironic/typical/unusual/grotesque/harmonious/telling/opaque. I generally know what conditions I am going to be shooting under and what the subject is going to be so I choose film accordingly, but I have often been dead wrong.
     
  17. steve

    steve Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    I don't think I said anything at all about not having texture, contrast, form, etc. What would make you assume that wasn't part of a color photograph? Certainly I didn't rule out any of those elements. I also never addressed form, space relationships or any of the other myriad elements that go into making a successful photo regardless of media choice.

    The point I was adressing is that a color photo needs a REASON to be in color - otherwise why take it in color? Working "nearly as well" in B&W is exactly my point - thanks for making it again.

    Nearly working as well really means it doesn't work in B&W and needs to be in color - and NOT in B&W - and that's my point.

    Color work needs a reason to not be B&W. When the photo works better in color than in B&W, you've found the reason to make it in color.

    I also don't believe there's an "equal" point where a photo works equally as well in color or B&W. If that's true, then the photo is not fully resolved or realized if the choice of color or B&W doesn't matter.
     
  18. Carol

    Carol Member

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    After concentrating on B&W for some time now, I have started to keep a roll of colour film in my spare camera. I have found that some things which have always been there suddenly attract my attention and they are subjects which suit colour rather than B&W. B&W is still the main focus of my attention, but there is room for both.
     
  19. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've gone back to shooting transparencies for color. For the longest time I got prints, but after going over my old slides and seeing some of the Astia and Provia shots from the past, prints just don't compare anymore. I've also recently thought about getting enlarged transparences and making a couple of light frames for them and maybe getting a projector. I feel that the one thing that you can trust is your taste in things changing form time to time.
     
  20. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    Fremantle, W
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I see we have very different philosophies Steve. Nothing wrong with that.

    I see in colour and I approach the idea from the other direction: a picture needs a reason to be in B&W for me to make it so in my print. It needs a reason to NOT be in colour.

    Every departure from the reality of a scene should be made through a conscious decision on the part of the artist, and removing colour from the scene is a pretty hefty departure from reality. Doing so should not be automatic - the choice of media is an integral part of photographic art.

    I'm not having a dig at you Steve: we simply see the world differently.

    Cheers,
     
  21. Helen B

    Helen B Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hell's Kitch
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have pretty much the same view as Graeme: B&W is the cooked, inflected version, colour is the raw, least inflected.

    The Dogme '95 vows, for what they are worth, included 'colour only'.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  22. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I see in colour, and feel the urge to record most strongly in colour, but have found that the things that arrest my attention are most effectively communicated to other people in black and white.

    I'm not sure if that makes me a black and white photographer in denial, or a colour photographer who needs to work harder on educating his audience.

    In practice, I am accumulating a small casket of colour jewels for my own hoard, and a larger heap of black and white baubles for when I want to communicate. I have been accused of not being true to my art, but only by people with a small-town, restricted notion of what it means to create.
     
  23. anyte

    anyte Member

    Messages:
    701
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I can't help but see nature in color. I can't imagine it in B&W and as a result shoot very little B&W.

    Being that I was interested in "art" long before I was interested in "photography" I've never associated B&W with being art and color as being less than art. The Sistine Chapel, after all, was not painted in black and white.
     
  24. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I tend to shoot 80% black and white. Do I see black and white not neccesarily, I don't register on tone or colour I look and see if it is a decent shot. I remember being in Kensington Market late one morning with a Pentax Spotmatic and my Canonet QL17. I know I had black and white in the Pentax but I forgot what I had in the QL17. It turned out to be colour. I was totally blown away with the vibrancy of the Superia Xtra 400. I find my criteria for a really good shot is a) is it interesting to me or whoever is seeing this photo down the road,b) is there any texture c) is there a story.

    Bill
     
  25. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

    Messages:
    2,384
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Boston area
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As a painter, color has been the center of my attention for the past 40 years. As a photographer, I have shot B&W for the most part, with some Ektachrome VS or Provia or Velvia (gotta have that saturation) thrown in for good measure. I must admit that, though I always have one camera with color print film in it with me on trips for "source" shots - photographic information from which to paint - I never really saw this as photography, it was just snapshot stuff.

    Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps because I think about the painting that might arise from the snapshot (most often taken with a Yashica T4) I think I compose them differently than I do the "serious photos," maybe with a more instinctive skill, since painting predates serious photography for me by quite a bit. I find myself quite pleased with these images more and more often these days, but I also find that the quality of the printing (since I have been unwilling to spend for a true professional lab for what I considered throw-away work) has me frustrated more often than not.

    I'm going to continue to shoot B&W, since I use a lot of ancient and honorable equipment and have a darkroom, but also because there is a purity to the medium. Reduction of information, removing the image from the "reality" of color space, can cause the viewer to click into "art" mode, where it is possible to get people to actually read the image rather than recognize the content of it and move on, the way we recognize cars or people or cows as we drive by them.

    At the same time, I may begin to put some color print film in the old Canon and go out shooting - not for source material, but for photographs.

    Great question, John.

    Whitey