Black and white photography is truly quite a ‘departure from reality’Ansel Adams
The terms ‘black and white’ and ‘monochrome’ are often used synonymously in photography. But when you consider the meaning of the latter you quickly realise that they need not be the same thing. A black and white photo can be described as monochrome, but a monochrome image isn’t necessarily black and white. Monochrome simply means ‘one colour’, so any photo dominated by shades of a single colour can be said to be monochrome.
On the subject of colours …
Last week for the Lens Artists challenge, I shared monochrome galleries in the three primary colours. The secondary colours are those that lie between the primary ones on the colour wheel and are formed by mixing them. In terms of paints or dyes (light is different), the primary shades are blue, red and yellow. By mixing blue and red we get purple. Mixing red and yellow we get orange. And mixing yellow and blue we get green.
For this week’s challenge from Anne, to illustrate my point about the difference between the terms ‘monochrome and ‘black and white’, I’ve selected some monochrome shots in those secondary colours and edited them as black and white. Both versions can be defined as monochrome, but which do you prefer?
The colour purple symbolises leadership and strength, and also with spirituality and creativity. Its richness is associated with royalty. Purple certainly makes a statement that’s hard to ignore!
Door detail, Cartagena, Colombia
Kings Cross station, London
At the Winter Lights event in London’s Docklands
Pansy in a planter in Blloku, Tirana
Orange stands for enthusiasm and emotion. It is full of the energy of sunlight and the warmth of a fire. It is an optimistic shade, less brash than red and more vivid than yellow.
Door detail, Tavira, Portugal
Cheetah fur close-up at a big cat sanctuary in Kent, England
In a planter in the 14th arrondissement, Paris
In a riad in Marrakesh
The colour green symbolises harmony and health. It is the colour of nature, the colour that induces a sense of calm and relaxation. Unsurprisingly many of my monochrome greens come from the natural world, but not all.
Indian poke leaves (I think), Mount Rainier, WA
Palm leaves, Cayena Beach Villas, Colombia
In the Bamboo Grove, Arashiyama, Kyoto
House in Cartagena, Colombia
My featured photo is a selective colour edit of balloons on the Quayside in Newcastle. It was edited initially in Silver Efex Pro, and the colours tweaked in Color Efex Pro to match my chosen shades for this post.