Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/05/18

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Subject: [Leica] Science For Canines
From: "Po-Wen Shaw" <>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 16:33:09 -0500

Martin Howard replied:
> Po-Wen Shaw jotted down the following:
>> IMHO the essence of the word
>> "photography", which literally means "writing with light" (ok, I suppose
>> light isn't all black and white...).
> Light, i.e., the electro-magnetic radiation, doesn't have colour.  Colour is
> a psychological phenomena, the result of how the human visual perceptual
> system interprets different wave lengths of light.
> Therefore, B&W photography is the only "true" photography!  ;)
> M.
> - --
> Martin Howard

I think all reality is a matter of perception (oh my god! shields!). Light
does have "color" -- the electro-chemical mechanisms of the rods and cones
in the human eye happen to register/interpret certain EM wavelengths as
"colors" (just as it cannot sense most other wavelengths in the overall EM
spectrum) which may or may not register similarly to non-human-eye
"sensors". In the same sense, photographic paper register EM radiation by
converting the silver within their emulsion coating.

If we were dogs and only saw the world in B&W, would we care about that
silly red dot on the front of our M6's?

In any case, Martin, I think we were both promoting the gloriousness of B&W
photography. Another thought: anything can be retro from a historicist
perspective, and B&W can, but is so much more; I also recall garishly
colorful Russian constructivist poster graphics which have their own "retro"
COLOR look. But until I learn to "read" color images better, B&W images have
a purity of information that is wonderful and intensely powerful.