Exercise 5: Black & White

For this exercise I have been asked to create a black and white image that I believe would be better than a colour version of it. Taking into consideration the subject itself and lighting condition I have chosen the following image.

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This image was taken at Netley Abbey, a 13th century medieval monastery thats fate was decided in the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. It is a very idyllic and beautiful ruin, extensive in size and in its complete nature in some parts of the Abbey. It is covered in most walls by graffiti from through the ages which add a very interesting and personal feel to this large open building. I have photographed here before a couple of years ago, I knew the rough layout and the possibility of such interesting black and white photography in its vicinity and with the addition of a bright sunny day I knew it was set perfectly.

I have firstly taken the black and white image, noticing the harsh shadows across the image coupled with the detail and intricacy of the stone masonry. The form of this image is what makes it stand out, the depth and lines within the building really give it an imposing element on top of the bland sky. Whereas in the colour image the contrast of colours, blue and green are the initial element that takes your eye however in black and white the building takes the viewers eye straight away, the slight highlights and shadows creating the tonal range of the image add to the detail and depth and helps to draw the viewers eye through the form. By adding to the detail I also feel that the black and white version adds to the impression texture in the image, rather than a softer looking stone in the colour image.

I have found by looking at black and white architectural photographers, especially when it comes to stone buildings such as this one it is extremely important to get the stone texture of it across to the viewer, for example in a lot of Ellen Fisch’s images there is a high dynamic range, similar to my image, that although is not overpowering it just adds to the impact the image gives.


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