Quite fascinatingly, when people look at my photos, they often seem to be more drawn to the ones that are black and white. Which made me wonder: “Why is that?”
Is it nostalgia? Memories of the good old times? Which by the way were not that good. Back when photos were black and white, the US went through the civil war and the rest of the world soon after experienced the horrors of World Ware I and II. So much about the good old times.
Is it cool, because it’s different? Maybe. But actually I think, we are drawn to it, because they are so much easier to read. There is only shape, light, shadow and contrast our brain needs to digest in order to make up a story. No distracting colors trying to tell their story, often resulting in a chaotic mixed message.
And yet, having only so few instruments to tell the story, black and white can be incredibly powerful, as the objects in the scene are not the only tools to tell the story. Depending on the way you process the picture, it can look very modern, with stark blacks, strong contrasts. Or it looks like a blast from the past, taken from your grand fathers attic.
And that’s what makes me think black and white photography is timeless. We still understand the language in these old pictures, as well as we soak in the message in a modern one. And we have all the freedom in the world to play with that language 🙂
And of course, having a wicked camera that has a built in time machine helps as well. I swear, the scene looked much different when I pressed the shutter!