A question of color

September 24, 2015


Features Editor





Up until the introduction of color film in the early 1900s, monochromatic photography was the only process available.


Color images seemed the only logical choice past that point, however black and white photography is still a viable solution.


Photographers must now debate and question the use of color in photographs.


We can compare two outstanding photographers with one photographing solely in color and the other black and white.


William Eggleston, the former, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, the latter, were responsible for the greatest street photography of their time.


With both of these artists widely famous using these different processes, the question still remains.


The black and white vs. color debate is a very personal one.


I prefer monochromatic over color images for a few reasons.


First of all, black and white is a finer art form as it does not allow the use of color to highlight the subject; the photographer must utilize light, texture and shapes to lead the eye around the frame. The artist is required to focus more on composition to create a successful photograph.


Secondly, monochromatic images tend to have more contrast and as a result creates a more dramatic feeling in the images.


I believe that a photograph is more successful if the photographer is able to combine the elements of light and shape into a monochromatic image and invoke the same, if not more, feeling as a color photograph.


I have discussed this with many people and they tend to prefer the vibrancy and instant gratification of a color image.


Black and white photography may seem like a dying art as the demand for most photographs captured today are in color.


However, black and white photography is also still popular as some digital cameras are specifically designed to capture only monochromatic images.


Cartier-Bresson and Eggleston were neither right nor wrong about their decision in the style they chose.


They each have their own unique styles in which the process fits the image they were creating.


In this the answer arises, the photographer must decide on the process that will capture the subject’s essence and tell its story to its fullest potential.


Devin Dronett is a senior graphic design and photography major from Lake Charles who serves as feature editor for The Tech Talk.


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