A photographic quandry solved

Choosing between a colour shot and converting black and white is often a dilemma. And recently I wondered if it was wrong to drain all the colour from a beautiful floral macro. Maybe this is the answer…

This shot was taken in Crystal Palace Park in south-east London. I’m still not sure which version I prefer. They both have their own qualities. What are your thoughts?

21 thoughts on “A photographic quandry solved

  1. I like them both, for different reasons..the colour one is beautiful, as a photograph of a flower, but it very much states itself as only that. The black and white one gives more room to the imagination I think, and could start to tell more of a story, you can see other shapes and forms in it because your mind isn’t tied to the idea of it being just a photograph of a flower…I think…!

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    • That’s what I’ve been grasping for! You don’t expect a bright colourful flower to be presented in monchrome, so it’s an assault on the senses. But the trouble is some viewers are jarred by this!

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  2. B&W is good for texture, contrast, shape, and compositions that don’t rely on colour. Certain shots need the colour removed so you can focus on those forms.
    Colour is obvious. This is how we see (well most of us) the world around us. Colour defines certain objects and when you strip away that colour your mind is quizzed by the lack of the obvious and you then focus on that which is taken for granted.
    A macro shot of a flower works well in B&W if there are contrasts in light, texture and shape but of a flower bed full of foliage and petals needs colour.
    Does that make any sense?

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  3. I think that a decision to go black and white or retaining colour is purely an artistic choice and it depends entirely on what you’re trying to produce. If your artistic vision is best conveyed without the distractions of colour, then perhaps B&W is your friend. As others have said above, a lack of colour lends itself to greater focus on shapes, textures, contrast… B&W can also often produce more dramatic effects. What I also love about B&W is the subsequent opportunities for toning or split toning for even more artistic options.

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    • Hi Mike, that’s a really interesting comment. Yes, I think monochrome opens up a host of possibilities, even for a subject which doesn’t naturally lend itself to conversion. of course it’s also an option if a full colour version lacks body. It’s all down to the person who owns the material at the end of the day.

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