Building A Mystery – Black & White versus Color…?

Building A Mystery – Black & White versus Color…?

For a little less than 3 weeks, from August 25th until September 13, 2015 I will have the great fortune to have two versions of the same photograph on display in two different galleries, in two different states.

The color version of my photograph, Building A Mystery is currently on display in the Art of the State: 2015 exhibit at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It runs until September 13, 2015.

Building A Mystery

The black and white version is juried into the 2015 Black and White exhibition at the Photoplace Gallery. This gallery is located in Middlebury, Vermont. The juror for this exhibition was professional photographer and platinum/palladium print expert Tillman Crane. Tillman choose 75 images from over 2000 entries. Thirty-Five of the chosen images will be on display in the gallery in Vermont. The remaining images to be displayed on the Photoplace Gallery website.

Building A Mystery

This show opens on August 25 and runs until September 18th, 2015. For a look at all the selections click here: Photoplace Gallery Black & White

I have several images that I have created b/w and color versions of and subsequently presented, but never together. Recently I’ve read a blog condemning this practice with comments like the following:

If you are presenting the same image in both color and black and white, you are saying one of a couple things:

  • This is simply a “product”, so therefore I can show it in varied forms.
  • I am not clear as to what my photographic vision is here, nor am I clear about what it is I aim to express and communicate with this image.

In either case, it is a shame.  I’d expect this from early-on-the-path photographers still discovering their personal vision, but I am increasingly shocked to see longtime established photographers (including “the best photographers in the world” who own multiple galleries!) presenting photographs both ways.  Sadly, it is becoming more and more common.

What are your thoughts on this issue, Black & White versus Color?

Albums | Mid-Century Modern Architecture | A Sigh of Relief 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Last year i had the black and white version of my photo, No Takers, on exhibit in the InVision show in Bethlehem. Shortly after that, the color version garnered an honorable mention in the International Color Awards, so… I feel a photographer shouldn’t have to pigeonhole him or her self into one type of photography or another. Some images look best in color and some in black and white. Other images look great either way. Obviously, sending both to the same contest is inappropriate, but why not submit different versions to different contests. I’m sure there are judges, critics out there who find it inappropriate to submit the same photo to more than one contest regardless of whether it is in b&w or color. I fall back on, do what pleases you, and critics be damned.

  2. I flip between B&W and color, some times, because often the image is sharper in B&W (technical issues with camera setting). I also have minor color blindness (pastel blue/green) and often I’m afraid I under/oversaturate my images in post-production.

  3. Forgot to say, congrats on both shows!!! Woot!!

  4. I think that showing a color and a black and white photograph is simply presenting two different images. I don’t think they should be displayed directly beside eachother on a wall…. they would get compared to each other this way, and the image itself could get lost in the process of people making comparisons. -But presenting both versions of the image at galleries and shows apart from eachother is great, nothing wrong with it in my opinion, and I don’t think it detracts from the image to have two versions either.

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