There’s a skill to seeing a good noir or black and white photograph through human eyes that perceive the world drenched in color, and I have great respect for those photographers who specialize in it. There are still many people who prefer that genre of photography, find color photographs tedious, and find the kind of color abstract photo art I do most of the time abhorrent. A trick I’ve learned, though, is that the best noir and black & white work starts in color.
A photographic capture specifically made in black and white is locked into the gradients and shadings seen by the camera. Colors cannot be adjusted because it has no colors – just shades of gray – Knights In White Satin. Capture that same image in vibrant color, however, and in post processing it is possible to apply a black and white filter. The filter essentially strips all color from the capture rendering a black and white image, but with one critical adjustment. The filter enables to artist to adjust primary colors to separate saturations. Reds can be made darker; or lighter if that’s where the artist wants to go. Yellows can become even richer; or duller if that’s the thing. It enables creative control of a work on par with the range artists have when working in color.
There is great skill and artistry in using the camera as the final arbitrator of a work. But for all intensive purposes the computer has become an extension of the camera. Seems such a missed opportunity to cease all creativity once the shutter button is depressed.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.