If there are one art form that is difficult to master it is that of black and white photography, it is surprisingly tricky, it takes both effort and time to perfect, yet the results are amazing once it is mastered. Some black and white photographers succeed other miserably fail and, in most cases, it is due to several critical elements that could be utilised to ensure black and white photographs works.
Black and White Photography Remains Master of All
The history of black and white photography is as long as that of photography itself, as the first colour images were only captured around the year 1861, although by then monochrome photography was already in existence for around thirty-five years or so. At this time colour was so to speak a new invention, the new kid on the block, but still, it did not replace the black and white art of photography in any way.
Colour in Photography is a Destruction
Many viewed the new invention in colour photography as a distraction, in photography it was often seen as lifeless and dull, which was quite the opposite of what one would think. Yet when it comes to the main task of a photographer, it is to simplify the image, refining the scene in the photograph down to its bare essence and it is in this that colour-photography at times falls short as the essence is colourless.
Wisdom by Ansel Adams
In discussing the variances between the two types of photography, including black and white and colour photography, it was said Ansel Adams that he can get a much greater sense of colour through a well-executed and well planned black and white image than he could ever hope to achieve via colour photography.
In modern times and referring to photography in today’s world most or almost all photographs are taken in colour, and when we thought back to the words of Adams, perhaps we all have lost the imagination and beauty that what Ansel Adams want to convey via photography.
A Great Black and White Photograph Period
There is no rescue for an image in black and white that is disastrous. There is no use in slapping a Noir filer on a bad photograph. A great black and white start with a great photograph, it is a photograph taken with reason. What makes a massive difference is also the camera and lens used, yet some see monochrome as black and white, this is the first thing you have to get right, a black and white photo have no colour, they are black, white and grey.
Taking fantastic black and whites not solely depend on the equipment used, in most cases the camera you have are what you need, it is the focus and the decision of what to shoot that makes the biggest difference. Obviously, monochrome-only cameras provide a cleaner and sharper black and white image than that of a camera that takes colour photographs, but until you get your technique perfect the camera is not what would make the difference.