The grey between

The grey between

The “grey area”, referring to an area having characteristics of two extremes.

I have yet to set out with the sole intention of capturing black and white images; I don’t necessarily set out to capture images of color either. Some say that you must have a different mind set when capturing black and white images since the color to grab attention is absent. Others need color and find black and white images lacking feeling or punch.  Personally, I am drawn to both color and black and white photography; both can evoke feelings in my mind.  However, a strong black and white can send shivers up my spine any day.

Did you ever think that the colors in a photograph can actually make someone look at it over and over again or possibly turn-off the viewer?  Just as music builds mood, colors can also help create mood. I have found a lot of literature written on this subject- color creating mood- and it interests me greatly.

Sometimes I know that the image that is presenting itself in front of me will make a great black and white image; other times I know that color will be beneficial to the image, or could the image captured look good in both color and black and white… Hmmm.  Either way, color or the absence thereof, can create mood or emotion in an image if the lighting or subject is powerful.

The image that I am presenting today was captured at an abandoned farmstead. Left behind, was a portion of a Singer Sewing Machine that probably felt a lot of material pass through its grasps in its day.  The machine that made dresses, hemmed pants, repaired holes, or made curtains for the house, was left behind to rust with time.

The way that the light was shinning in from the side casting shadows behind the machine was moving.  I believe a gasp escaped my mouth when I first saw her sitting there reaching out to be photographed.


Maybe I will set out one day with the sole intention of photographing black and white.  Paying attention to the light and shadows, textures and patterns, composition, contrast, or trying to capture raw emotion in a look- That may just turn out to be a great learning experience.   But wait… Can’t I do that with color too?

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5 thoughts on “The grey between

  1. kkred says:

    Great article – fun to read. Did you bring the Singer home? It would be a great base for a small table. 😉

  2. IMO B&W isn’t just something you do (most all photo programs will easily covert a photo to B&W), you need to see the image that way and it needs to work. Vivid, rich color can often distract the viewer from the subject or theme of the photo. A great image in B&W needs great composition, exposure and tonal range. If it doesn’t, more often then not, it will appear as grey mush.

    Great job is seeing this one. A perfect candidate for B&W conversion.

  3. Good post. I think both have a place and it depends on the composition and target.

    I’m also growing fond of the hybrid method where you leave color on the object but convert background to B&W. I think that would work well with the shot of the Singer, too (great shot, BTW).

    • I am also drawn to the hybrid method your talking about- a little bit of color to draw your attention to the subject and yes… I agree it would have worked well with this picture 🙂

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