Reflections on black and white and its shades

Why choose black and white now that we live in a color world? Many have come to this and are still asking this question.

Well, first of all, it must be remembered that the author’s photo is born purely as black and white photos. Today, we are used to the hundreds of colorful shots of the most advanced mobile phones, which are mostly applied filters to give a vintage effect.

Our eyes are not used to black and white, they perceive it as a mistake. “Color always distracts someone who looks at a photo, focuses more on color than on content,” explains great photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin.

In particular, the photojournalist uses black and white to increase the dramatic sense of the situation represented, in this way it is possible to focus on passions through dark light.

In the previous article we talked about how photography is related to art. The black and white photo is closely linked to the depicting arts, not so much as painting as much as sculpture. The photographer must be able to synthesize the image by eliminating all those elements that might distract from its essence. However, removing the color does not necessarily mean a loss of information, but rather means to strengthen the sense and the communication of the image. In the case of black and white, the shadows will assume the same meaning as the subjects.

Taking or converting black and white photos is not that easy. The photographer must be able to think about photography even before shooting. The brain of the artist must be able to exclude objects’ color from focusing particularly on the shapes and direction of the light. As we have said, it is not necessary to shoot directly in black and white, there are now several post-production programs that allow you to convert color photos to enhance contrasts and balance shades. Converting a color photo is possible because it contains all light information, but it is not so automatic. A black and white photo, in fact, does not have the color information to be converted to color, but can only be intuitive.

The color is able to portray reality, but black and white allows to highlight the soul of photography.

I want to conclude with the quotation of a great one in the reportage photo world: Larry Towell.
“For me black and white has a personal latitude, a space where the photographer can move. Photography has many points of contact with poetry. Black and white is minimalist, as poetry is literature that has been squeezed through all the water. “