Please, Pease, Please Help... Please

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Robert West, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Robert West

    Robert West TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know i've already asked this question but there's just not enough of you responding :cry: Over forty ofyou have read my query, but only four of you wrote a response... and quite frankly it's just not good enough :!:

    I know some of you just don't have anything to say on the subject, but those of you who do, I'm relying on YOU. You're the experts!

    so...please, please, please write... something...anything?!?! :lol:

    Hello, my name's Robert West, I'm a 21yr old photography student currently undertaking my third and final year of my Degree at the Norwich School of Art and design, Norfolk, England. As part of my degree i am required to write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of my choice.

    The title of my essay is...

    How does photographing an event in black and white, rather than colour, change the relationship between the viewer and the subject?

    It sounds complicated, but is actually fundamentally quite simple. I want to explore how seeing an event in black and white can distance the audience from the reality represented, constantly reminding us that it is only a film, and that what is on the screen cannot harm us.

    I guess you guys (and gals!) are the experts, so hopefully you will be able to help me.

    Aside from the question above i would very much like your opinions on...

    *How b/w photography can feel older, for example how it is used in films such as the Elephant man , Raging bull or Schindler's List.

    *The 'immediacy' of colour war photography ie. how much more powerful horrific images can become if they are shot in colour.

    *How b/w abstracts reality by removing one of the elements we can instantly understand.

    *Whether, despite this, b/w can ever be MORE realistic than colour. ie. there is reality, and our perception of reality.

    These are just a few ideas, if you have any other opinions regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of b/w photography compared with colour please let me know.

    Please also feel free to email me at selectcreate@aol.com

    Thank You.
     
  2. metroshane

    metroshane TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2003
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gee, we'd love to do your homework for you, but.....


    Just kiddin'...I think not many people responded because we really aren't that qualified to give a film philosophy answer.
     
  3. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't think anyone responded because it sounds like you want us to do your homework.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I read your first post. I am still struggling with my answer (and I'm rarely at a loss for words).

    I shoot almost all (99+%) BW. I don't know if I can really explain why that's my choice. I just know that I like BW photography better than color photography. A lot of the color photography that I like looks monochrome. I still really like color photography, but BW just turns me on.

    If I can ever formulate my visceral feelings into words then I will be sure to post. Until then I'll give you this lame explanation: color is the visual aspect with the strongest emotional response. It can easily dominate over shape, tonality, form, texture, etc... Removing color emphasizes the other visual aspects. As the saying goes "If you can't make it good, make it big. If you can't make it big, make it red."
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    25,120
    Likes Received:
    2,028
    Location:
    In the mental ward of this forum
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Someone around here has a signature with a quote that goes along these lines: "If you shoot someone in color, you see the color of his clothes; if you shoot someone in B&W you see the color of his soul."

    Go with that. :wink: I wish I knew the author of that quote.

    Really, you've picked a fascinating subject for those of us who prefer B&W over color. But YOU picked it. For me it's simply a visceral reaction and I tend not to look at it too closely. I'd rather not analyze my reactions to art until they're dead, but that's just me. You've already touched on several aspects of it here. Whether you can draw that out into 10,000 words....I dunno. I wouldn't want to attempt that. To take something that's purely subjective and turn it into a lengthy objective narrative is really what you're struggling with here.

    Good luck, Robert! Sorry I can't be more help.
     
  6. doxx

    doxx TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    behind the viewfinder
    I think it's based on perception in the first place. Since I'm working in the graphic design business I might look at pictures and colors very differently, but let me try to explain my point of view...

    in our normal life we are used to an overkill of colors (think tv, advertisements, billboards etc.) and we don't really need to think about the message - our minds are made up by canned, colorful, 'real life' and oversaturated images.

    Whenever we see a photograph in black and white it seems to make the picture special - some kind of exceptional. Since we're not used to black and white photography anymore, the images makes yourself add the missing information - the mood, the atmosphere... the lack of color.

    Good B/w photography simply becomes alive through light and shadow, contrast between black and white - it just transports raw emotion, nothing else.

    nuff said... photography is about transporting a message -b/w or color-
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    BW is how they did it all in the old days. It's nostalgic. People see BW and they think "old timey".

    This is all about red. Why is red so powerful? Because it's blood!! Yikes!!! Millions of years of evolution makes the sight of red start the adrenaline drip in our system.

    See the lame answer I posted above.

    Most of the news and documentary photographs of the last century are done in BW. Even before digital, extensive image manipulation was going on, but people perceived photographs as reality and truth. "Seeing is believing", and people used to consider looking at a photo almost as good as being there. The age when BW dominated was a time of trust, and I think that there is still some of this emotion in viewers today when they look at BW. With the digital revolution, our perception of a photo as the truth is changing. Anyone can easliy change images on their home computer. Future generations will not perceive photos as always being accurate representations of reality.
     
  8. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Quite honestly, if you are in your third and final year aren't you far more qualied than us for a philosophical paper.

    Either way, I agree with alot of what doxx said about perceptions and especially about B&W forcing the viewer to become more engaged and less lazy to truly appreciate the setting.
     
  9. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    2,964
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Florida
    It seems that there's been a bunch of suggestions presented which should give you something to work with and if this is your third year at it and you're still at a loss maybe a change of study subject is called for?
    One thought, remember the old Norfolk way of "du different"? Maybe a new approach could help?
     
  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. You're a photog student, right? So take 10 photos, 5 different images in both color and BW. There's your 10,000 word dissertation.
     
  11. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I can see it now... the worlds first pictoral dissertation....
     
  12. lizheaemma

    lizheaemma TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Messages:
    683
    Likes Received:
    38
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    OK so here's my two cents worth.

    Why don't you get some photo's that are b&w and the same photo in colour then get people to say ten thing about them see what trends show up. It would help bulk up your writing and fit in with the rest of your idea's!
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

who is the author of if you cant make it good, make it big. if you cant make it big, make it red.