Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/10/21

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Subject: [Leica] B&W and color
From: "Stephen Kobrin" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:49:26 -0400

There is often an assumption on the LUG that there is a right and wrong or
better and worse choice for the topic at hand.  Rangefinders vs. SLRs, Leica
vs. anything else, and B&W vs. color are examples.  I suspect that much of
the time it comes down to what one likes or does not like, especially for
those of us who do photography as a hobby.  Thus, while there are obviously
"objective" differences between B&W and color, I wonder if for most of us,
most of the time, it is really a matter of personal perference.

I like B&W.  While I shoot a lot of color, I find that the prints that
really mean something to me, as opposed to creatively recording a scene,
tend to be B&W rather than color.  I find it much easier to visualize the
end result if it is B&W and much, much easier to "print" via Photoshop. That
is not to say it is easier, just that I find it easier.  For example, I
typically print using tritones and can usually play with curves and colors
and make ordered choices in terms of my preferences.  When I try to color
correct a print I just have no idea what is going on.

I find that B&W tends to abstract a bit from reality and let me express what
I feel or what I see in my mind's-eye much more easily than color.  I also
find that I am really "turned on" by a nice tonal range in a B&W print.  I
find colors,even when they are nicely saturated and balanced, a more
superficial visual experience.

Again, this is all subjective.  But that is the great thing about
photography as a hobby.  I am an academic and have lots of people tell me
what is wrong with what I write in great detail. If I like a print, that is
all that matters.