While reading some articles and blogs related to décor, by the way all written by interior decorators, I became very angry, because the common theme was: “Out with Black and White, and in with Color.” I have nothing against color; however, black and white has its place, and it should by no means be ignored. Why would interior designers stress that in our color rich world Black and White has no place? Because, they are interior decorators. Well, I suppose the answer is a little more complex than that. So, let’s explore this topic.
The World is in Color
While walking down Market street in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, I am continuously impressed with the gamut of color, from white to black and everything in between. Everything is in color. All advertisements, banners, flags, everything is saturated with color. The world is color. Interior decorators and industrial designers know that bright and saturated colors, and bold images naturally draw our attention. This is a big reason why Black and White photography is being replaced. Keep in mind, interior decorators often know nothing about Photography and its influence on arts. Most decorators understand color well, and know how to match color to create themes palettes, and anything else you want to call it. I call it harmony. However, there is harmony in Black and White as well.
The Many Shades of Gray
Black and White photography has something color does not. It reproduces natural world using all possible shades of gray, all the way from white to black. Whenever I look at a Black and White photo, especially one which I have not ever seen before, I immediately begin to process the image, and paint the scene in my mind. When we cannot immediately tell color, we use our minds to reconstruct the image, as it were in real life. We pay more attention to the intricate details of a Black and White photo for this very reason. We notice very intricate details, which are otherwise lost if the same scene was captured in color. The shades of gray are a very powerful communication tool. These shades can tell us which parts of the image are cool, which are warm, which dark, and light. Shadows become much more interesting and often more intriguing when expressed in Black and White.
Black and White photos may be reproduced using an infinite number of tints and tones. A tone of the photo communicates its mood, something that color photography, even tinted does not do nearly as well. Sepia tones communicate warmth, closeness, and of course remind us of the past. Blueish, and steel tints are great for architectural and mechanical photography. High contrast pure Black and White is excellent for Landscapes, where tonal differences are great. The options are endless, and there are no hard rules. When a photo is tinted correctly, it just feels right. A good Black and White photograph will communicate not only what has been captured, but the environment surrounding the scene.
As for interior decorators; forget about it. They set their own rules, and there is no reason why the rest of us have to follow them. Interior decorators are not necessarily experts when it comes to photography, and its selection. Appreciate Black and White, and display it where “you feel” it looks good.
About the Author
Written by Professional Photographer, and an owner of a Photography Selling Service. To learn more about this, and many other general, as well as more specific photography related subjects, or to explore a Fine Art Photography gallery, please consider visiting WorldonPaper.com Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.
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