Many people ask me why I like black & white photos better than color. Maybe it is because I had my first exposure (pardon the pun) to black and white photography in my cousin’s darkroom at a young age. There is magic in watching an image coming to life in the chemicals in the darkroom.
But secondly, there is much greater detail visible to the naked eye in black & white than color. You can’t see the contrasts and detail in color as you do in black & white. It is more than “just pretty.”
In black and white images, the absence of light can be as important as the highlights. Solid, deep blacks can give a depth and solidity of an image. Sunlight, properly used, can paint a total photograph with total brilliance.
Black and white has a distinct atmosphere of its own. It’s classic, yet simple and elegant, even romantic. It has a refined quality. Without the distractions of color, the photograph asks each viewer to recognize the individuality and uniqueness of the subject. Black and white focuses the attention on form, shading and pattern, not color. It forces the viewer to see the world in a way that cannot be seen with the human eye.
To me, a black & white photograph is the purist art form of photography. It makes a viewer, stop and look at the detail and the structure of the photograph.
The photograph with this blog is from the San Jose Mission in San Antonio, TX. It is the front doorway and window of an Indian dwelling which consists of a single room. The exquisite detail of the wood in the doorway and the stones of the outside structure is lost in a color photograph, but comes alive in black & white. For comparison I have also included a color photograph too.
This photograph was taken in January, 2011.