A Series of B&W Images and Thoughts: Part 1
I’m beginning a new series of blog posts over the next few days were I’ll share some thoughts on B&W images that I’ve made recently. I’ll start with this image of some aspens that I made near Park City, UT. To me, much of photography is about simplification and elimination, whether an image is color or B&W. This sounds relatively easy but it is much more difficult than one might think. Eliminating unnecessary elements in an image applies to a wide range of photography and allows the viewer to focus more directly on what the photographer wants you to see. In landscape photography, composing an image free of man-made elements is common, for portraits the background is blurred and soft. Street photography utilizes composition and focus to remove distracting elements and wildlife photography often uses a mixture of aperture, focus and composition to attract the eye of the viewer to the subject. In B&W images, regardless of genre, its tones and contrast. To achieve this in B&W, light and shadow are the key players.
Another element to consider eliminating in images is redundancy. If the goal is to simplify, then every single element in an image should have a purpose in communicating the vision of the photographer. Color is the redundant factor in this image. We know aspen bark is white. We know shadows are dark. We know leaves are green. A color image of this scene would have all the same technical details but give extra information such as the color of the leaves. The added detail of shadows would give more depth, but the two trees on the right already communicate depth. One can even tell the direction of the light by the highlight on the far right aspen.
One last thought on this image, and with many B&W images, is I tend to think of these images as leaving room for the viewer’s imagination to finish the image. I mentioned that we all know leaves are green. But what if these ones aren’t?
Be sure to click on the image and you can see this in its full size (limited time only). I like the leaf on the far right the best:)
Thanks for reading and I have more to share on this soon,