Way back in the early 80’s, colour photography was introduced to India. I still cannot forget the excitement and demand it created among the photographers and the public. Studios in India added ‘Colour’ in front of their existing name like – ‘Raja Colour Photo Studio’. Photographers waited for months to get their rolls developed and printed. I still remember that I used to send my rolls to Kodak, Bombay (now it is Mumbai) and wait for at least a fortnight. The development in the colour imaging technology has now reached a different level.
Despite the ‘information and details’ given by colour photography, there is always something missing in it. It is undoubtedly the ‘feel or the emotion’, which is the power of ‘Black & White photography always. Don’t you think that whenever you wanted to communicate emotions in a subject, colour really takes it away by its power of attraction?
Though not in most other subjects, people and portrait shots deserve to be shot in B & W as they are truly powerful in expressing the emotional content of the subject.
But for me, B & W photos are very special because they are not true to life. The reason being their ‘default creativity.’ When you are trying to express something that is not true to life then, you have a lot of scope for imagination and creativity. May be that is what made the ace photographer Ansel Adams create several black & white landscape shots. How can a B & W landscape shot be true to life? But, they were truly beautiful and undoubtedly artistic. That is one of the reasons why B & W pictures take the lion’s share in the photo exhibitions, competitions and art galleries.
Enjoy artistic photography….! Learn to see the world in a different way…. the B & W way!
A photographer does not operate a camera to merely take pictures. Photographic work is always personal. A photograph reveals the photographer.
When I was studying sixth standard I found it difficult to see the text written by my class teacher on the black board (those days we had only black boards and chalks to write, unlike the present days digital boards..!) but copied the same from my classmate sitting next to me. I was even punished for a couple of times for not reading the text on the blackboard correctly before realizing that I had a problem in my eye sight..! Yes, the text on the black board was looking little fuzzy and less sharp for my eyes. Here, the lack of sharpness leads to lack of details. Of course the problem was solved by adding a lens called ‘spectacles’ on my little face. Well, I still carry one on my face for more than 40 years.
But for me ‘sharpness’ is near to heart. It is a way and means to understand anything you see or photograph. Well, it doesn’t mean that everything in a subject needs to be completely sharp. In fact, selective sharpness achieved through intelligent use of depth of field control is far more powerful in details .They are a bit more artistic too. When your attention is about a small honey bee that sits on a flower, then a selective sharpness laid on the bee will be far more powerful enough to highlight the finer details.
The ‘laser sharpness’ is dangerous sometimes when you shoot portraits. Otherwise, look for really sharp images that touches the heart of the viewer and take careful control of the ‘challenges of sharpness..!’
Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph. If it was, they would have more to say. –Anonymous
Sharpness is a bourgeois concept. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
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