[Note: Once a month we host a ‘group critique’ here at The Discerning Photographer based upon our related Flickr group pool. The idea behind the critique is to try and give a bit of constructive criticism and/or praise for the selected photographers’ work, and then to have a discussion about the images in the Comments section below. Please check out the following images, see what I thought about them, and tell us what you think!]
Black and white photography: do you practice it yourself? How do you find black and white shooting to differ from color shooting? For me, black and white is a wonderful area to explore: stripping color out of the imagery brings forth form, pattern, and the interplay of light and shadow in a way that my brain doesn’t process with color photos.
In our December 2011 Group Critique from our Discerning Photographer Flickr pool, I’ve chosen some black and white images for us to discuss. So, let’s get started!
‘Foggy Morn,’ by Enivea.
I think this image works wonderfully in black and white. The fog in the distance is nice and I love the strong diagonal line the tree forms from lower right to upper left, AND how nicely the foreground tree frames the distant tree, with its similar leaning shape, a bit of nice and subtle pattern repetition.
‘Pathway to the Sky,’ by CJ Schmit.
The strong lines and monolithic composition – think ‘2001—A Spacy Odyssey’ – make this one work for me. The reflection of clouds on the glass surface is great too.
‘White Curves,’ by Joyce445.
We could probably all benefit from attempting to photograph a calla lilly. I always think about Georgia O’Keefe and Imogen Cunningham when I see good examples of calla lilies, and this one is no exception. Nicely done.
‘And Looked for a Way Out…’ by Justin Garofoli
I like the image more than the title. This is a nice image that would be better with a more interpretive toning job, in my opinion: I’d like to see the trees darkened to enhance the sense of foreboding and the foggy vanishing point brightened in contrast to the rest.. Justin, tell us about making this photograph.
‘Guimarães Castle,’ by Ana Matos.
So of course my question with Ana’s photograph is compositional: Ana, why did you feel the need to tilt your camera? For me, the tilt adds a sense of the world ‘askew,’ everything not quite right, etc….but I’m always suspect about camera tilts: does it bring so much attention to the act of photography that the actual results are diminished? I don’t know, but I’ll be really interested to see what Ana has to say about the image and what others think as well.
‘Little Lulu,’ by Sarah Tomlin.
This wonderful photograph reminds me of all the joys of childhood: here a little girl proudly shows off her missing two front teeth. Sarah, tell us about making the photograph: what were the circumstances? You’ve captured a great moment—something that would qualify for the ‘Peak Action’ photo assignment that’s running over in the Discerning Photographer Forums right now—and I love the spontaneity of this image. Great job.
‘A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world,’ by Mick LeConte.
I had to go google this to find the proper attribution: apparently spoken/written by American-born Leo Buscoglia, who wrote a number of best-selling inspirational books before his death in 1998. Mick, are you a Buscoglia fan? I like the image simply for the layered texture that the rose makes, subtle in all of its black and white tonality.
So please let us know your thoughts about these images in the Comments below, and we’ll see if we can get a conversation going, and thanks!
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog