More B&W Images
by William Lulow
I’ve written about my love for black&white images before. This genre of photography was the first one invented that could hold a captured image. Before the advent of color photography (which became commercially available around 1935 or so) black&white was all there was. And the great visionaries and practitioners of the craft going all the way back to Mathew Brady and continuing up through Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, Penn, Avedon, Halsman, to name just a few, had a reverence for the black&white image. I too, was brought up in this tradition. From the time I first learned how to develop and print black&white film, I had a deep appreciation for the inherent artistic nature of a great black&white print. There is something about such a print that draws our attention, especially today with such a proliferation of color images both from digital cameras and cell phones. And, a black&white image exposed and printed carefully still conjures up the feeling of a piece of artwork.
These days, if I come across a scene that I think might be rendered better in monochrome than in color, I will shoot it as such. Shooting in original b&w mode, it seems easier to preview the composition and the lights and darks of the image.
As I have mentioned before, I still capture portraits in color and convert them later, as I have with this series of recent images. I find that I often have to increase the contrast and decrease the brightness of the image originally shot in color.