Color vs Black and White Photography, Again.

January 14, 2014  •  75 Comments

Mellos Cove Sunrise Blue Hill, Maine. 2014!

Right then- so I would consider myself a landscape photographer. I love trying to make a good portrait and also endeavor as a street photographer as a sport sometimes, but the portfolio I show is made up of landscapes, and when you really get down to it I would say that I'm a black and white landscape photographer, but there is always a place in the catalog for a nice color image. Now the only point of using those terms "black and white", "landscape", and "photographer" are as qualifiers to describe in a capacity to explain in the end really nothing more: what you should pay me for. I've never really understood how some people like Rick Sammon or Joe McNally can be everything shooters and make such a killing at it- they are consummate professionals who can deliver to the likes of Nat Geo in the case of Joe McNally whatever you want on time with abundance- but it seems that the rest of the photographers that I look up to or other masters of their craft are dedicated to a particular niche. Consider the pianist Bill Evans who I'm listening to right now (Sunday at the Village Vanguard) he didn't play 2 hour long sets of exploratory deep and challenging jazz then go over to Madison Square Garden and play art rock with Jethro Tull and then New Orleans funeral marches the next day. Steve Jobs didn't design cookware for fun in his 'downtime'- unless he did? See where I'm going with this? Me neither- anyways, I have just found that in my experience (which mostly pertains to reading the internet and watching tv then going to my day job whatever it may be that day and maybe trying to quit smoking tobacco again-) that it's much more successful of an artist to have a concise and complimentary portfolio than that which consists of pets one day then black and white bridges with not level horizons the next, then selfies the next day, then a sunset, then more pets, then an on-camera-flash portrait of someone at a party, then some more party shots, woot!! etc. Hehheh. (Yeah I just showed some black and white party shots in my last couple of blog posts, so there is that). Extreme example I know. As an aside here: how many requests for to like somebody else's photography page on Facespace do you guys get everyday? Do you ever even look at the page? Aren't you just so sick of that? 

Back to the photography talk- one reason I really love making black and white landscape photography is that no longer is it requisite to get up before dawn to chug coffee and then drive through the dark on deer filled roads only to trip and stumble on flashlight lit paths through the woods to a location that may or may not be beautiful at sunrise. I can make interesting black and white imagery at any time of the day- not to say that color photography is never an option to those skilled at doing that then, or to say that I can always make interesting black and white imagery, woah now!- I've just become more comfortable finishing a photo in monochrome that isn't supercharged by sky color and which relies more on texture and subtle tones. And I think that a nice subtle black and white print has more review quality than a hotshot pyrotechnic sunrise print anyday- it's all personal but those kinds of images which are always a knockout at first just end up feeling exhausting after a while- like I'm not always in the mood for a Red Bull, maybe I just want a glass of warm almond milk. Yeah that's the perfect analogy for a beautifully subtle and interesting black and white landscape print= it's like a nice cup of steamed almond milk! Heh.

But there is the occasion when the photo is all about the color, or to deny the color to the photo makes it less than it would have been. It's obvious when it happens just like it's obvious when you see the value of a good black and white image. I guess I would be a color photographer more than a black and white photographer if I had lot's more of these and in the end a title is only really just as good as the it of the thing that's described, and I do want to be a great black and white landscape photographer- but this was a gorgeous colorful moment that I really wanted to share with you all. And that's what I think about that. Have a great day- Nate from Maine, Usa.

P.s. Any of my good photographer friends out there want to tell me what they may have changed about this shot, or how they may have gone about approaching it differently? I'd be super chuffed to hear from yeh. I.e.: critiques welcomed whoever would like! See ya!


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