Behind the Scenes | "Black and White" | Article and 3 Photos by Stephen Fisher

You either LOVE it or HATE it! Well, HATE might be a little strong. Since Life Magazine is no longer published, not many of us don't even see much of it anymore. Now it’s often considered “old school” or “highbrow.” But if it was good enough for the photographer Ansel Adams

I’m talking about black and white photography. For years that’s all we had. And then…color film was developed. And the photography world changed forever. Or did it?

There’s a quote I like by Ted Grant that says: “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”

I think the same thing is true for many landscape photographs. Our eyes go right to the saturated colors of a sunrise or sunset photograph and often we miss the “rest of the story!” Drama in a photograph doesn’t have to come from the colors. Often it is much easier to present mood and feeling in black and white.

This is an image I recently made at the North Cove Harbor Wetlands Sanctuary here in Rockport. It was a gloomy morning with a light drizzle of rain. As I was making the photograph, “black and white” popped into my head. The drizzle was making the scene look a little “grainy” like an old film photo. I was already thinking about the post processing of this file back in my studio.


Even local landmarks we see every day here in Rockport take on a different look and feel when presented in black and white. This is the Rockport Marina taken in the early morning. There really wasn’t a lot of color in the frame, so I decided to make it a black and white image. I feel it adds a special aesthetic to this tranquil scene.

Photographs made at night are great candidates for a black and white palette. I made this shot of the fish cleaning station at Rockport Beach Park very early one morning. I wanted to highlight the shadows on the boardwalk. My eye was drawn directly to the shadows that morning as I made the click.

Like I said at the beginning, people are divided when it comes to black and white photography. I feel for the RIGHT scene it can make a strong statement. The good thing is that the original digital file is in color, so if you don’t like the way your photo looks in black and white, you still have a color version. We didn't always have that luxury in the days of physical film.

Give black and white photography a try…you just might like the look. As always, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about black and white photography or photography in general. Happy photo shooting.

Stephen Fisher and his wife Sharon have lived in Rockport for almost 5 years. Stephen Is a full time nature photographer with gallery representations here in Rockport and in Corpus Christi. Their favorite question is “What took us so long to get here to Rockport?”

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