Monday, November 26, 2012

A Question Of Color- The Appeal

Recently, a post ran on LENS that featured the work of Joel Meyerowitz. In it, he paired color photos with B&W shots he'd taken almost at the same time and almost from the same angle. It was somehow supposed to demonstrate how color trumps B&W when it comes to art and photography. What it actually shows (as he himself states in the article) is that color conveys more information than B&W (a given), and that color is superior to B&W in a host of situations (also a given). And that is all it shows. It didn't 'prove' color's superiority as a way of seeing or producing photographic art- the implied (and unfortunate) take away. 

Nowhere did the article state what each was best at doing, or more suited to. It emphasized color's strong points, at the expense of B&W's "flat grey" limitations. A much fairer and vastly more edifying approach would have been to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of each medium- then we could actually see and better understand the two languages and how they tell their equally evocative but considerably divergent stories. Instead, we're treated to a one sided set up with a predetermined winner- expected more from Mr. Meyerowitz and the NY Times...

Experienced photographers know that B&W photographs must be visualized as such before the photograph is taken, they are not simply color photos with the color taken out as in the examples above- which are on the same level of abomination as the 'colorization' of movie classics.

PS- For the record- I: a) photograph exclusively in B&W, b) absolutely love looking at color and B&W equally, c) am not quite as famous as Mr. Meyerowitz.


Noah Beil said...

Nicely stated, Stan. Seems like not much thought went into that article.

Stan B. said...

Yeah, not a big deal, all in all- just surprising it was done so half assed.