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Old 05-04-2013, 19:27   #1 (permalink)
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Is it really black and white

I was reading in a thread and lost the point of origin of what makes a "Black and White" picture. Oh well, it won't be the first time, easy replies make more sense to me. Thanks I think.
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:33   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

Simple. Black and white has no colour.

This is in contrast to monochrome which, as the name implies, can have blacks, whites, shades of grey and one colour (mono = one, chrome = colour). This allows for toned photographs to be counted as monochrome. Early photographs have been ill served by reproduction in books, leading people to think that they were black and white, or at most sepia as well. They weren't. Reds, blues, purples all existed.
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Old 06-04-2013, 00:58   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

(mono = one, chrome = colour)

Never thought about chrome, except wheels. Nice comment thank you for your views.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:47   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

The term B&W and Monochrome are often freely interchanged. However, for most national and international competitions and exhibitions the following definition is used by the Federation Internationale de l'Art Photographique (FIAP). As FIAP are patrons for the vast majority of Club based international Exhibitions, salons and competitions, this definition tends to be widely applied throughout the world:-

"A black and white work fitting from the very dark grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a
monochrome work with the various shades of grey.
A black and white work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work able
to stand in the black and white category.
A black and white work modified by a partial toning or by the addition of one colour becomes
a colour work (polychrome) to stand in the colour category."


At my Club we still allow the addition of a single colour which goes back a long way but may well remove that this year and adopt the FIAP definition.

However, you may not have been asking for a definition but what makes a good B&W in terms of composition, subject, lighting, presentation etc.
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Old 06-04-2013, 17:36   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

Remember the old days of Camera Clubs! when you entered a C/C competitition it was just that, but there was a colour section as well if you wanted to enter! the colour section was never well supported, am I getting a little off track here?......
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Old 06-04-2013, 22:56   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

Des, that ages you a bit. I joined a CC in 1980 and colour prints were a significant portion by then and had probably overtaken B&W by 1985.
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Old 07-04-2013, 15:30   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

"A black and white work fitting from the very dark grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a
monochrome work with the various shades of grey.
A black and white work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work able
to stand in the black and white category.
A black and white work modified by a partial toning or by the addition of one colour becomes
a colour work (polychrome) to stand in the colour category."

Some very good and well written lines of clear thought. I wonder why sometimes people talk of B&W pictures as though they are as good as it gets. Some pictures are unfinished and just don't look "processing wise" are things that get talked about, instead of the subject or what a person saw in the picture.

I don't know to much about but I respect how hard it can be to bring the best out of a B&W picture. Last of all is I like to make a B&W from an IR standard picture as there are only lightly two other colors from a grey card white balance. IR from a converted camera will always have a very bright side to it, blacks are light and in smaller areas, when adding some contrast the blacks spread out over detail very fast, the same with white but not as fast into the grey areas. Using a grey curves set will most of the time show that the grey is right on.
I'm not sorry for rambling on because the above comments are very well put out for all of us to read. I will try and see if I can follow what I see as guide lines as I move my tweaking and maintain my detail. Thanks again, I do very little processing on my IR but it seems that I need to find a method more inline. I don't believe that the extra brightness from the grey infrared reflectance should be a negative.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:11   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Canon View Post
Des, that ages you a bit. I joined a CC in 1980 and colour prints were a significant portion by then and had probably overtaken B&W by 1985.
Hi Dave, yes I am knocking on a bit in age, cant help that I'm afraid, when I joined a Camera Club in the early 60s there was a two and a quarter mono slide section and that was very well supported! and then somebody came along with a two and a quarter colour slide show and wow the quality! (just a blast from the past)
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Old 10-04-2013, 15:49   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

I am no longer in a club but the one I was in is now I think 103 years old. A elderly member who died last year told me he joined as a junior member in the 1940's and in those days it was only the well off who had the money for cameras and darkrooms. He had to wear a suit and tie, keep quiet and only speak when spoken too. He went on to be a great photographer and won many international awards for the great darkroom work he produced. He never did get his head round digital.
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Old 10-04-2013, 16:54   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

My Club is 148 years old and, in its early days, was open to gentlemen only. They later added a ladies section and, of course, there was a separate darkroom for the ladies. Even in the 1930's, you could apply to join the club but had to be proposed and seconded and approved by the committee. I was told that the committee actually used billiard balls and if there was even one black ball, you were not offered membership. Of course at that time only the wealthy could consider photography. Even 15 years ago the vast majority of Club members came from the wealthier parts of the town. However, since the digital age, more people have taken up photography and club membership has doubled in the last decade with now a far more representative selection of the local population.
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Old 11-04-2013, 15:50   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

My wife joined my camera club about 15 years ago and was the only woman and very few spoke to her and when it came to the annual exhibition she won the cup for the best portrait, the cup had been always won every year by the gentleman referred to in my previous post and he had been beaten by this woman, but credit where credit is due he was the first one over shook her hand and said he was so glad to see someone else's name on the cup and invited us up to his house for a drink on the way home. This was contrary to another member who came over and said "You had no right to that cup,Will always got that and this is a man's club". The following year she won again plus her portrait was also the best print in the exhibition. The same thing happened again, back for a drink and the others got their noses rubbed in it. We were both in the club up to about 4 years ago when I did program secretary for a year most said it was the best program they had ever had others sniped behind my back so I just said F*** you we are away I have had enough. I am told the club has since dropped from over 30 members down to about 10 of whom only about 6 attend.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:26   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

I work north of St. Louis and live south of St. Louis so driving in the evening is the worst as everybody after I have left is now going home. I looked into a Club after meeting a fine young man out at a bridge over some water. He had a bellows type camera on a tripod and when I wandered over to the bridge as soon as I stepped up on the walk he, stopped and kindly waited. I took a few pictures and commented about his fine looking camera, I showed him what I was looking for in my picture and that I was using Infrared. He then asked if I was a member of a camera club, I said I hang around with a few friends across the pond. He then gave me an invitation to the club he belonged to. It was up in the same area that is just to far and wrong time day to travel. But I left with a good feeling about camera clubs and what they can have to offer me in my own little search of subject matter. After reading your story's I thought that the best B&W I have done was a single conversion done in photomatix. I have looked into two different clubs but it turns out I just don't have the time. I love being able to talk to people and share with their work as it has helped me along the most. After all that being said their is a way of making the IR pictures look better, and that is to work small tones and areas with more contrast. Bring a light opacity multiply layer in and that helps. I look at a lot of older black and white pictures done in hollywood and they have more grey, I get confused but shall push forward because I'm having fun..
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Old 12-04-2013, 14:46   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

I didn't see this as a thread for offering advice on B&W, but I will offer one tip - never work on a jpg if you intend to produce a B&W. They don't have enough tones to make a successful B&W that will pass muster if directly compared with a "proper" one.
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Old 12-04-2013, 17:12   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

Yes, your right about the thread and Jpegs. When you and Dave dished out some interesting comments about chrome and monochrome and black and white being used freely I fell out of the tree and started to day dream,,,a very bad habit I have. It all started when I started to shoot infrared and made some out standing pictures with out much work, others looked pretty good with a lot of little tweaks. You know I am always looking for the lazy mans way out and have not been doing a lot of processing,,thus my pictures have a soft none contrasty look to the greys. I can't help my self, i'll go back and try to pull it all in line like you guy's explained very well, maybe remembering that a bit of discipline will help in this case. Thanks for help, it came together for me. I enjoyed what ever else happened, it's good to talk a lot over I guess something so little,
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Old 20-04-2013, 08:13   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Is it really black and white

What makes a good black-and-white....
My Dad took one of my old colour 127 negative of the front headlight of an old car, possibly a Morgan, that I had taken at some car show, because I liked the headlight and grille arrangement....
However, I didnt like the fact that I had got too much background, so asked my Dad if he could do an enlargement of just the car.

His result was the headlight occupying 80% of the shot with just enough slightly soft focus grille in the background, which he then converted to black-and-white.........

I have yet to take a better version of that shot.

I have some shots of Manchester Trams that I have converted to sepia and black-and-white....
I took them with the intention of doing that, and they worked quite well.
I have a sepia photograph of train controls stored on this site that I took also with intention of working on it, I was going through a sepia "phase" at that time....

I cant give an exact of what does and what doesnt work, in my estimation, its what "Looks right"....
Again, the beauty of Digital, this can be done on your desk top almost instantly these days?...
So why not try........
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