Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] b&w, color of the soul (was: Old colour film stock and back to pictures.)
From: Alan Ball <>
Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 19:00:18 +0200

D Khong wrote:
> B&W is in no danger of becoming a gimmick.  I wonder what the market share
> would be like if neighbourhood labs offered B&W processing at the same
> price as colour.  I would not be surprised if the whole scenario comes
> round one full circle.

i agree with 2 objective reasons in favour of b&w: freedom awarded by
private darkroom management and longevity of prints. For the rest, the
choice is open and based on subjective preferences. In belgium XP2 and
400CN are developed and printed by neighbourhood labs at the same price
as colour. This is one of the signs of the current renewed interest in
b&w. My argument is that the choice for b&w is often made because of the
"wrong" reasons: b&w advertisements are everywhere (posters, magazines),
b&w reappears in motion images (video clips, etc), b&w is used again in
photojournalism. This is what I call a "gimmick", a trick to attract
attention from an audience saturated with high quality colour images and
all too willing to like prefab nostalgia.

Friendly regards