Blog

Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Black And White Can Set The Mood

I have been 'playing around' a bit more with black and white conversions and experimenting with the types of moods that black and white images can convey.

A few years ago I went on an amazing workshop with Nancy Rotenberg, which took place on the Oregon Coast. One of the most surreal places I have ever seen was Bandon Beach, Oregon. In fact, it was so other-worldly that I took one of my images and made the colors somewhat surreal in order to try to convey the 'feeling' of being in that location, rather than just using the image to show what the location looked like. While I liked the image, I always had my doubts as to whether the viewer would understand what I was trying to say and feared they would just see the image as 'hypersaturated'. Of course, if the image doesn't convey what it is that you, as the artist, want it to, it has failed, at least on some level.


Siren's Song
Copyright Howard Grill

However, when I converted the same image to black and white it seemed to immediately convey to me the surreal feel that I was looking for. I believe it may be a more successful rendering of the photograph. What do you think?


Siren's Song
Copyright Howard Grill

Perhaps, if you agree that it is more successful, the reason might be that converting it to monochrome immediately removes it from the realm of a 'normal' representation of place, as we don't normally see things in black and white. I'm not sure if this explains it, but I thought it was an interesting possibility to consider.