What happen to Black and White photography?

Art Directors, Madrid photographers, magazine, Media, photography, picture editors, Portrait

Black and White photographyIn the early days of photography, photographers had no choice but to shoot in black and white, as it was the only available medium. Then, in 1936, the invention of kodachrome gave colour photography to the world. The major harm done by digital photography is that most photo hobbyists do not think while taking pictures.  Typically, they take tens of pictures and then discard the “bad” ones later.  So, digital photography, on one hand allows more creativity (if done more thoughtfully) and on the other hand it can kill the thinking process that is usually accompanied with film based photography.  When one uses film, s/he tends to think while capturing an image, as s/he cannot see the result right away and, therefore, needs to previsualize (if a good photographer).  S/he also knows the shots are not free of charge when captured on film.  However, with a digital camera one can take free of charge photos as many as s/he wants with little or no thinking. 

The digital photography has been of great help to photojournalism due to its speedy image productions.  A photojournalist does not need to spend time in darkroom before publishing his images.  However, if an image is captured badly (accidentally), and it is important to the photographer, s/he may have to spend a lot of time editing/correcting it.  In general, digital photography is better for these professionals compared to film.  It is true that each medium (digital or film) has its own merits.

Digital camera can be used as a substitute for traditional Polaroid film for film based photography.  However, if Polaroid were produced today (it has been discontinued), I would prefer to preview the image on Polaroid instant film/print because this medium shows the shadows/light closer to what is expected on film than any digital camera for two reasons: 1)- the Polaroid back is mounted on the same medium format camera that carries the lens in use.  2)- Digital camera is more sensitive to light in both low and high light areas (straight characteristic curve).

I definitely like film based colour photos  better because of their superior image quality, but I hardly use this colour medium because of its cost.  If I decided to capture a panoramic scene in colour, I would use colour slide film to get its unbeatable punch.  This way I can also have the slide film scanned with a drum scanner by a photo lab.  As far as digital black and white is concerned, I usually do not recommend converting digital colour images to digital black and white image because of the tonal limitations of digital imagery.   No wonder there are still companies in North America and overseas who still produce black and white photographic materials.   Ilford is probably the best.   I do all my black and white photography myself (developing, printing, retouching, hand-colouring, sepia toning etc.) and I love it.


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