Originally Posted by stevegong
Colour if done well can make the photos look so much more exciting.
However, a common problem with snapshots is too much information: photos full of clutter that detracts from the subject matter. The solution is often to move closer (not "zoom in" which just flattens everything and makes for boring photos), but simply removing the colour also has a clutter-reducing effect which can make terrible snapshots marginally more attractive.
In other words, it takes more skill to shoot good colour than good black and white, although obviously the whole Ansel Adams approach to photography is extremely technical and scientific (to the detriment of overall interest, in my opinion). I have the Ansel Adams trilogy (Camera, Negative, Print
) which devotes a lot of its 750 pages of very dense technical discussion to the Zone System. After studying it in some detail I came to the conclusion that few photographers need to know this stuff, although a good knowledge of exposure is essential to avoid the I-wonder-how-that-photo-will-"come-out" syndrome, or its modern day equivalent: shooting dozens of digital shots while chimping
(even the pros do it
!). Ansel Adams' Zone System can certainly produce ethereal tonality, but the type of people who are capable of fully understanding the Zone System rarely have a creative bone in their bodies. Ansel Adams himself was no exception.
Jeff Spirer is a wonderful black and white photographer (and colour photographer
too). He has a large fan base on photo.net where he regularly posts street photos. Jeff has a knack for finding the graceful in the ugly, and the redeeming humanity of the brute. Here's one of his pictures, taken outside a McDonald's restaurant. I plan to buy a print of this (when I graduate and get a job!
). In this version the Golden Arches is quite subtle, which is how I would like it on my future print; however, I think he should dodge the logo a bit for the casual viewer who might not notice the logo during a brief glance.