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Thread: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    In the usual give and take on LUF photoforums I was asked to convert an image to B&W. Besides the obvious difference in esthetics, I was amazed to see the emphasis in the image shift from the situation to the person. In colour it was a record of a shop with an owner, in black and white it was an image of the owner in his shop. I think it is the red drawing the eye to the outside of the picture.
    Last edited by jaapv; 22nd November 2007 at 15:15.
    JAAP
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    The colours of my generation are black and white.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Thats quite interesting. I have been doing the same thing with a group of images. Its surprising to me that the best color images don t always convert well to B&W and that some images are just better in B&W. Its not hard to see in Lightroom just click on the greyscale conversion and go back and forth with the color image.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Jaapv, IMO you are loosing to much information available in your B&W conversion.

    Straight monotone conversions usually don't work very well.

    A quick way to look at B&W conversion is to use the Gradient Map function in PS, ( Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map > select B&W )

    Better yet, the new B&W function in PS3 is in effect a sort of Channel Mixer, and allows you to control the tonal values of each color as it appears in a grey scale: ( Image > Adjust > Black & White > then play with the sliders for each color.)

    Here's a quick adjustment done using that Black & White function & sliders ... note the flags overhead, the sign on the front of the stand, and that the eggs are not converted to white ... among other things.

    Done this way, I much prefer your photo in B&W ... where I didn't before.
    Last edited by fotografz; 15th April 2008 at 06:43.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Thank you for your input. I quite see what you mean and you are right. I never desaturate. Actually the way you describe is my usual method, this time I decided to use the converter from Photoshop Element5 Oh well - back to the old manual system again....
    JAAP
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    The colours of my generation are black and white.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Nice example Jaap, and the B&W is definitely superior! I often find that I prefer images with people in them as B&W's; not sure why, but I end up converting most of them... May be for the reason you gave: it focuses our attention on the person first and their environment second.
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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    I love it that the egg seller in the middle of who knows where is surrounded by telecom advertisements.

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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    I remember several years ago hearing David Douglas Duncan speak and during the Q&A he was ask about his using only B&W for his Vietnam work when others like Larry Burrows had started to use color. He said he thought using color would cause the viewer to focus on blood and other things and not the men which was his focus. Secondly, he said if he was doing his job you would see the blood in black and white.

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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Nice post Jaapv… really demonstrates the situation well…

    On B+W conversions … the problem I have with the gradient map and channel mixer techniques is that extra burst of contrast they give. I don’t always need this.

    Of late I’ve been using Calculations… you only get to play with two channels but otherwise you have complete control.

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    Member Nick_Yoon's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    With digital we get an image that's colour...I usually look at an image and decide if I prefer it in colour or B&W.

    However, at a portfolio review where I showed a mix of B&W and colour images from Cuba, I was told that I should decide for a particular shoot or project in advance whether I want B&W and colour. That it makes the work more cohesive.

    I suppose if I focused on B&W, then I wouldn't photograph scenes where colour was interesting but there was no content.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Colour and B&W. not just form but content.

    Another attempt at B&W, please comment...

    GATE AND HERON






    Last edited by jaapv; 30th December 2007 at 07:25.
    JAAP
    http://www.jaapvphotography.eu
    The colours of my generation are black and white.

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