Why do Street Photography looks so much better in...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by idoblu, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. idoblu

    idoblu TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Aug 16, 2011
    Black & White?

    is it just me? they just looks more interesting and less distracting than color
    Is that why Leica users always takes in B&W?
     
  2. Tymoe

    Tymoe TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Aug 24, 2011
    I think it is right that colours often distract the viewers attention from the message. And that is what good street photographers catch with their pictures: a message ( or a story).
    Another ascpect might be that a b&w image with strong contrast looks a bit harsher than a colorful bloomy pic. Perhaps that supports the idea Bruce Gilden meant by saying "If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it's a street photograph"
     
  3. macjim

    macjim TalkEmount Regular

    158
    Aug 10, 2011
    Idoblu,
    No, it isn't just you, I prefer black & white photographs as the choice for street photograph. It's not really anything to do with colour as I have a few street photos in colour. The one I have on Flickr of a ‘jester‘ needed to be in colour as as the outfit was bright, turning it to B&W would have lost the reason for taking the shot. But B&W gives much more ‘drama’ and depth to the image — can't really explain it though! It just works for me...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  4. olli

    olli TalkEmount Veteran

    318
    Aug 16, 2011
    Washington DC
    olli
    I think it is because most of those who are recognised as the great street photographers used B&W. All the best street pictures we see are in B&W and so we are conditioned to think that B&W is best for street photography. It's about tradition as much as aesthetics.

    While B&W still dominates street photography there are plenty of great examples of colour street photography.
     
  5. idoblu

    idoblu TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Aug 16, 2011
    I am about to go on a trip soon. Its too late to learn to shoot RAW. Not going to chance it.
    Shall I take in color and later convert some to B&W or
    shall I select my shots in either color or B&W for each situation?
     
  6. idoblu

    idoblu TalkEmount Regular

    26
    Aug 16, 2011

    thanks for that link. really helps.! :)
     
  7. Tymoe

    Tymoe TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Aug 24, 2011
    But what you can see in those pictures is that each has a limited range of colours... there is always only one dominating colour!
     
  8. macjim

    macjim TalkEmount Regular

    158
    Aug 10, 2011
    Well, the question is: do you have the software to work with RAW files? It's not a daft question as not every piece of photo editing software will work with the camera used. Many people had to wait for Adobe to catch with new camera models such as the NEX-5N. If you do have the software then I'd suggest you shoot only in Raw (you could set your camera to record both RAW and JPG but it take more space on your card) as you don't need to worry about B&W or colour, as RAW will record more data allowing you to convert to B&W when you edit the files latter. A good thing to remember is to work on a copy (duplicate) of the original as that will give you a clean copy allowing you to mess around to your hearts context without loosing the data. If you have Lightroom 3, iPhoto or Aperture 3, these will allow you to edit as much as you like with the original file as they all are non destructive, in other words, they keep the imported file and record your edits leaving you with the imported file intact. If you can, go out and give it a test before you go on holiday so that you'll find out how it works before you go away.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. olli

    olli TalkEmount Veteran

    318
    Aug 16, 2011
    Washington DC
    olli
    True, but that's a reflection of that photographer's particular style rather than any specific problem with street shooting in colour. Take a look through many of the other galleries on the in-public site and you will see plenty of other examples of colour street photography including work by Joel Meyerowitz.
     
  10. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Imho unlike most genres of photography 'street' is unique in a way that it puts a lot of emphasis on the emotive content of the picture rather than the other aspects of it like noise, out of focus, etc.. I don't think there are any specific rules when shooting street which gives credence to what Bruce Gilden has said regarding street photography, great street photgraphers in the past shot in b&w but that doesnt necessarily mean it's the only way to go. whether it's colour, b&w, in focus, out of focus, smooth, noisy "If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it's a street photograph" .
     
  11. blb

    blb TalkEmount Rookie

    15
    Sep 29, 2011
    I think black and white photos in general, and "street photography" specifically, have become a bit of a cliche. I understand
    the claim that color can distract from the story, and technically I understand that shooting in, or converting to, black and white
    can hide some noise and other imperfections, but beyond that, I'm dubious. It seems that I see a lot of boring flickr
    photos that people seem to think are cool just because they're in black and white, and, I don't remember any classic painters who worked exclusively in black and white. It can't just be color.
     
  12. jebuskrust

    jebuskrust TalkEmount Regular

    140
    Sep 16, 2011
    Limassol, Cyprus
    Many years ago the "parents" of street photography were shooting exclusively in B&W due to various reasons (tech limitations, etc).
    Therefore the best art was created in B&W, thus the cliche'
     
  13. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    John Goldsmith a photographer who's work I really enjoy, and one particular aspect of his work is his street shots which is in colour (you can see it from his website ) I wanted to bring this up particularly because Eric Kim (another photographer who's work I really enjoy and have attended his exhibitions when he was in town) recently interviewed John Goldsmith regarding his photographic vision and expression, It was quite interesting and informative as he steps away from the typical b&w style of reportage photography and instead captures images from an impressionist point of view.

    You can find the Eric Kim's interview from his website here
     
  14. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Outstanding! I really enjoyed viewing his work...
     
  15. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    thanks friend, I was very inspired from these photographs so i went out today...
     
  16. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I'm glad you guys like it, it always interests me when I come across a genre interpreted in an alternative manner, it shows that photography is only limited by one's imagination :)
     
  17. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Re the topic, I have actually discussed a similar question posed by this thread before (with my son and daughter who have dabbled on and off into photography). We have pretty much reached the same general conclusion (consensus) expressed here.

    However, we also stumbled across something fascinating regarding colour and B&W imagery in our family, when we asked ourselves these questions:

    1) Do you mostly dream in B&W or in Colour?
    ("I don't know" falls under B&W because there is no conscious recollection of colour detail).

    2) Do you mostly think (while awake) in B&W or in Colour?

    3) Do you visualize a planned holiday location in B&W or in Colour?

    It was interesting that my kids answered in-colour on all three, whereas my wife and I (who grew up from an early age viewing B&W movies and TV) answered B&W for the first two questions, but answered in-colour on the last.

    I know that when my analysis of an image intensifies, my awareness of colour diminishes (sometimes colour becomes distracting)... whereas colour is welcomed back into my awareness when I'm thinking of something pleasurable. I'm wondering if this is a generational thing (postwar baby-boomers saturated by B&W media at a young age), or just an extension of my character as an individual?
     
  18. Bolampau

    Bolampau TalkEmount Veteran

    276
    Apr 22, 2012
    Lincolnshire, England
    Paul
    Fascinating theory Dioptrick,
    I'm 54 and think I see B&W for the first two and colour for the third.

    I'll ask my 13 year old son for his views when he gets home from school later!
    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  19. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I agree, it's quite interesting I'm in my early 30's and I answered colour in all three questions, however I start to think and see in B&W the minute I try to be creative. Perhaps B&W is the base where other images stem from e.g. sepia, colour, hi neg, toy, etc.. and B&W images traditionally were taken to portray something (traditionally in the style of reportage where the image has to say something to you or to be able to tell you an entire story) as this was it's purpose and was born out of necessity due to the limited technology at the time. I think more people would have shot in colour, if coloured film was available when film was born.
     
  20. lapdog99

    lapdog99 TalkEmount Veteran

    219
    Sep 3, 2011
    Colorado
    Leica shooters certainly don't "always shoot in b&w"! You can always convert in post, and if you have any post processing software that supports your camera's RAW files, use it. Note that 90% or more photos can be perfected in post using simple, highlight, shadow, contrast and mid-tone tweaks ( clarity ) which is pretty simple.