25 December 2007

Black-and-white photography

When I was studying for my science degree we got to choose two electives. Some people chose course-orientated subjects like virology, but I went outside the course-type subjects and chose computers and medical photography. Each elective lasted for six months. I fell in love with photography, in much the same way as I was in love with writing. One was the straight image and one was my interpretation of an image, the image in words. I also fell in love with black-and-white photography, which until then I had seen as old-fashioned and boring. Perhaps the writing parallel is poetry -- something I never liked much at school and considered a bit old-fashioned, something I discovered later. Black-and-white photography is an interest I've never really pursued -- I intended to go the whole hog, get myself a darkroom, a yellow safety light, the whole works, but I never did.

Nowadays, of course, I've gone digital. It's largely a matter of cost, but I still wish I had my old SLR. And one day I must invest in Photoshop or some other proper digital editing program. In the meantime, I'm a sometimes devourer of photography magazines (okay, an occasional devourer -- you're much more likely to find me poring over a book on writing). And I've been thinking about black-and-white photography, particularly because my small instamatic has the capacity to take black-and-white photos. Here's one I took at the prom. And one that was a colour photo that I've stripped the colour out of. Which do you prefer? Can you tell which is which? (If you've considered hard and really want to know, you can scroll down and find the colour photo in the "calendar shots" below. Check the foreground to tell help you match it.)


Sherryl said...

The bottom one looks ever so slightly sharper to me, but it's hard to tell because most websites (I imagine Blogger is the same) reduces images to 72.
I have to say I prefer the colour image to the B&W. I like B&W for certain things (like photos of back alleys, as an example of atmosphere that can be enhanced by B&W) but for beautiful scenery, colour is my choice.

Tracey said...

Ah, you can view the images at a larger size by clicking on them, but can only look at one at a time.

The bottom image is too contrasty -- doesn't have nearly as many tones in it, but the increased contrast can make it look sharper because things stand out from each other more. This is the one that was originally colour.

I like the colour and the black and white (but the top image) -- just different effects.

Claire said...

Wow you have some AMAZING photos! I love them. Wish I was good at taking photos, or rather that I had a good camera :P

I also love your cats on your other blog :P
I just put up some extremely cute photos of my wee darling if your interested. I am bored...can you tell!

Tracey said...

Claire, your beach photos are just as good. The only real difference are these are 16:9 ratio, which rather suits landscapes.

Checked out Meiko -- she looks just like the first cat I ever owned! Gorgeous.