Exercise – Street Photography

Exercise

Find a street that particularly interests you – it may be local or further afield. Shoot 30 colour images and 30 black and white images in a street photography style.

In your learning log, comment on the differences between the two formats. What difference does colour make? Which set do you prefer and why?

Black and White

When focusing on black and white images, I found myself looking for form, shape and tone. It is not something I had really done before and would usually always decide afterwards as to whether I wanted an image to be in black and white or colour. In black and white, I find that it is easier to see the smaller details and the patterns of light within an image. The eye is able to find these things more easily within an image when there is no distraction of colour. I find it is well suited to architectural shots especially and it gives an image a more timeless and classic look, making it harder to tell the era that it was taken sometimes.

Colour

When I began taking photos in colour, I noticed that it was the colour I was trying to search for first and at times I felt that this distracted me from everything else. However, there are definitely certain images which look better in colour, it gives more depth and context to certain images and quick frankly, taking the colour away almost seems a shame. There were times that I was matching colours throughout a scene whilst taking pictures that looked pleasing together, contrasted or were the same.

I feel that colour can make a huge difference in a photograph. It adds another layer, more depth and gives clues about the context of an image. But that isn’t always a positive, sometimes I feel that colour can distract you from the message, glaze over the smaller details (when these are aligned with shapes, light patterns and form) and if the colours do not look “right” together, can make an image seem a little ugly and displeasing to view.

My Preference

It’s hard to say which set I prefer, but I have to say that colour is indeed growing on me, I enjoy colour far more now than I did when I began my photographic journey. Whilst I will always love the “classic” look that black and white gives to an image, I can now appreciate wandering through a photo with my eyes and linger on the colours too. The black and white images, for me, seem a little more serious in a way, but less realistic. I like this, I enjoy fiction much more than reality as I like to feel as if I am escaping in art. Colour, however can produce more emotions based only on that. Bright, happy colours induce a more positive feeling and vice versa. Therefore, I think colour is a good tool when you are trying harder to sway the emotions of a viewer. I also think it makes someone look for a little longer too, since the brain has to process more information. This could mean, however, that a message has the potential to get lost amongst a colour photograph if people do not look for long enough. Therefore, you must also make sure that the image is a strong one with a clear message and is well composed.