Yesterday there was a discussion on Flickr regarding the issues around choosing to present images in colour or monochrome (link). Some people argue for the choice to be made before the shot – so its envisaged and worked toward from conceptualisation. I don’t agree with that view. It’s an acceptable strategy sometimes but if always followed would exclude the choices we can make about images at other points in the workflow. For example, today’s photo was shot – see below – in colour with no intension to render it monochrome.
But when I saw the image full size in Lightroom the textures of the orange and the table top and the light and shade appeared to me to be the key to the image with the colours adding little to any representation of an peeled orange on a table top. Compare the shot above to my shot of the day below where its been rendered in monochrome.
Once I saw the shot in monochrome is was clear that the colour distracted the eye from the key aspects of the shot which are shape, line and texture. I didn’t know this when I took and shot but don’t think the decision should be frowned upon for that.
What’s your view?
I think the picture’s much less interesting in monochrome. It loses key qualities of colour and tone. Other than that, I agree that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether a picture or series was initially envisaged as bw or colour. The question is whether the end result works.
Indeed Eileen, where would we be if we agreed on everything. 🙂
I’ve just spent five minutes or so really looking and reflecting on your comment Eileen and I think it made me realise that my description was flawed: I now don’t think either version is better or worse than the other – rather each offers a different emphasis.
Well, firstly, I agree with you that there is no sense in an ‘attitude’ about whether the outcome was envisaged before – which won’t surprise you! In fact, I think the whole debate about colour v monochrome is ‘old hat’. Either is fine if it’s how the creator chooses to present the image.
That said, I’m less keen on your monochrome version above and, like Eileen, prefer the colour. The trouble is, I think, the moment one does a monochrome it focusses all attention on tones & I have a feeling (which is all it will be since I’m no expert on monochrome) that this could do with a bit more work – maybe even more contrast. Pushing the highlight end, for example, so that you really get a feel for the brightness of the light?
Thanks Stan. Everyone who have commented so far here or on Flickr prefer the colour version. The tones in the monochrome are just at the edge of being clipped, but I agree that there is room for work on the highlights.
Excellent shot! I particularly like the colour version. I think you’ve made terrific use of light and shadow. The texture of the table adds a nice uniformity to the background as well.
Thanks Shane. I’m definitely in the minority for preferring the monochrome version.