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Color vs BW

From De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District artists’ book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. 2014

The “I only shoot BW” photogs can lose important information if they stick to their dogmatic position 100%. Now, I used to be one of those types back in the 1970’s before branching out to color in the 1980’s.


I would look down on the color photogs…I was a purest. It is all ego driven nonsense. The bottom line is this – let the image dictate BW or color, not your ego.

Sometimes the image will work either way. If so, do what you like. Other times it needs to be in color or BW only. Let the image decide and do what is best for the image.

In the above example it could have worked in BW or color. But when it goes BW you lose the bluish light on the upper left. The blue light signifies the prostitute depicted in the graf is a male transsexual. So, that information is lost in the BW version.

Ernst Hass on the subject …

“There are black and white snobs, as well as colour snobs. Because of their inability to use both well, they act on the defensive and create camps. We should never judge a photographer by what film he uses- only by how he uses it.”

Now, let me throw a monkey wrench into the equation. The above image is cropped. I have no problems cropping an image to it full potential. When I looked at the un-cropped version, it looked to me that the blue color is actually a blue light shining on the graffiti. I can’t tell for sure if the blue is in the paint or the light on the paint, but that shows you how cropping can affect an image as well.