I can’t seem to get off the ‘Street Photography’ wagon right now that I’m still sitting at home, nursing my slowly healing foot… no way to get out and about with a camera.
Anyways, it’s raining cats. dogs and other strange things so I’m not too tempted today.
But while I wrote Saturday’s post, a question cropped up in my mind:
Does Street Photography have to be in black and white?
Somewhat in the same vein as asking if Street Photography must picture humans. In the former post I convinced myself that no, the human being is not essential. It’s rather about human interference in our surroundings.
So I’d like to make the point immediately that I do not thing is has to be in black and white. It’s just o case of preference (or tight money as b&w is much cheaper to develop…).
I love black and white, I ove the way it renders the world in stark contrast, light and shadow fighting for dominance. It suits a lot of vues perfectly. But it’s not a prerequisite. Sometimes cooler makes a photo, makes it stand out and shine.
I think our preconception comes from the olden times of Henry Cartier Bresson, Brassai or others who, in a way could not shoot color. Either color film was not freely available or simply not sensitive enough to be used in the streets.
So black and white street photography was born to of necessity, partly. But things evolve. We have fast film, we have freely available color film, we even have those digital cameras that don’t gibe a damn if it’s color or black and white you want – though I find that a bit easy.
Some photos simply live from colour. Others don’t. And some days I see colours, some days I don’t see them. Really, I look at a scene and I imagine it in tones of gray, in shades of light.
But this should not hinder us from applying colour where it’s suited.
It can be refreshing to see the world in colour sometimes, get you a new perspective. But I found that I do have to be in the mood for colour. Simply loading a roll of Superia and going out does not work. I have to know beforehand that my mind is in colour mode. Then It can work!
Not always, but the chances are there. As I said there are gray days, lots of them and there are the occasional colour flashes among them. That’s why I always carry a roll or two of colour film. Who knows when they can come in handy!
A thing I try to never do though is converting a colour negative to black and white!
Well… mostly, as the above photo for example exists in a black and white conversion too. Guilty! But I really try hard 😉
OK so is this Street Photography too, is color a valid medium? What do you think? Let me know what colours you fly!