Color vs. Black and White
A few weekends ago, on a sunny morning following a stretch of grey days, Tony and I decided to forgo our typical Saturday errand-running and head out to a local park. He wanted to see if he could spot a few birds that had been sighted in the area recently, and I wanted to take some photos (shocking, I know). I had been thinking about wanting to take some photographs in both color and black and white to do some comparisons, and this morning provided me the perfect opportunity. I packed up both of my SX-70s, one with Impossible Project PX70 film and one with Impossible Project PX100 film.
Both packs of film I shot with that morning were a little dated, but had been carefully stored in the refrigerator, so I wasn’t too worried about their age. I expected a few divots or spotting, and indeed I got both. But I sort of like the look of those anyway — there’s a reason I love film, especially instant film, after all. In our adventures, I found an old shed and a solo tree across the prairie landscape. Two things I love to shoot.
As the photographs developed, I took a quick look, felt fairly satisfied, and slid them into my camera bag. With each photo I shot, I decided “yeah, I like this one better.” I kept vacillating between liking the color image versus the black and white. Two weeks later, I find I’m doing the same thing.
On the one hand, I see all these aspects of the color photo I prefer compared to its black and white counterpart. Then I look at the black and white photo I judged as inferior, and I find qualities in that one that I like better than the color image. Vacillating.
Maybe it’s the content that sways me to liking the color photo over its desaturated partner image. Does the shed look more “vintage” in black and white? Or maybe I think landscape is better in color, especially that blue sky. But didn’t Ansel Adams make black and white landscapes his hallmark?
I love color in my life — in my clothing choices, my home decor, my coffee mugs. Surely I would prefer the color photograph of my “live with passion” mug compared to the grey-scale version. Or would I?
What about you? Are you a “color photographer” or do you lean toward black and white? Or are you equal opportunity? Do content or other factors play into your preferences? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And link to some of your own photos — I’d love to see!
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