I had an interesting thing happen when I showed Chris the original color version of this image. When she first saw it she said it was a beautiful photograph. Never being one to leave things alone, I thought it would interest her to see where the image was made. She looked and surprised me by anouncing she no longer cared for the image she had just said was beautiful. Now she thought it looked too processed; that it no longer looked real. So we talked about that, and I asked how she thought she would feel about a black and white version. She didn’t know so I offered to convert one as a test. Surprisingly, she now thought the black and white image looked more real. How is that possible? And yet, for many people black and white photographs are still viewed as more real, more honest than processed color images that represent the original colors-even if those colors have only been enhanced (read made more saturated), not substituted for a different color palette.
I had a hard time explaining to her that first the color image I showed her first was pretty close to what I saw in my mind’s eye when I was making the exposure because I knew what was possible, in the same way I can see the potential black and white rendition even before I make that conversion. Am I a freak? Is there something wrong with trying to make an image that gets as close to my vision as possible, even if that version is a departure from the reality of what the camera recorded, if we can call that real? At what point do we no longer accept a version of a color image because the colors don’t look real, but will accept the same image when converted to black and white? For the fun of it here is the original image straight from the camera.
I’m curious to hear any thoughts on this?