A Black and White Photograph

Steel worker carrying steel rods in construction site

Everybody knows what a black and white photo is. It is an image devoid of color, just grays in shades from black to white. So why isn’t it called a gray-scale photo? Well, it is. It is also called a monochrome. But somehow the term black-and-white has caught on. If you look up “grayscale photo” most likely the term will be explained by calling it a “black and white photo”.

In its first half century of existence photography was monochrome. Not until the mid-190os did color photography become popular. I tried looking up how the term “black and white” got started, but with not much luck. Granted, I didn’t work all that hard at it. It seems the terms is so ingrained that there is little need to explain it.

For much of my photography I have used black and white images. There is the abstraction of the subject into form and tones that allow creating a message more directly, with more clarity, that has always appealed to me. Yet in recent years color has taken over much of my work.

It was a neighbor who just a week ago gave me a nudge by challenging me to a black and white image a day for a week. It is my habit to take things to extremes. And so I did with the black and white photograph here.

Steel worker carrying steel rods in construction site in high contrast black and white
Steel Worker – Click image to see higher resolution photo at Flickr

This is truly a “black and white” in every sense of the term. Just black areas and white areas. None of the traditional grey tones in between. I had a small collection of photos from a construction site that I took that afternoon. I decided to make some black and whites.

My editor, Photo Gallery, offers several B&W conversions. I picked the yellow filter effect.  For eliminating the grays I used the simple approach of just moving the histogram sliders together.

Black and white high contrast photo of Ludwig Keck
Ludwig Keck – Self-Portrait

The black slider up so the darker grays would be rendered black, and the white slider down to turn the lighter tones to white. I selected the point where the sliders met to provide the effect that I liked.

Just for fun I also dug up an old selfie that I had turned to “real” black and white.

Go ahead, feel challenged to do some really, really black and whites!

Ludwig Keck

Ludwig Keck

Ludwig Keck – I am a photo enthusiast, amateur artist, teacher, author, avid computer user, and love sharing what I know. I am an engineer, not a professional artist, my photography is mostly for personal enjoyment. My passion for art predated my photography and I love to use photographs as a basis for artistic manipulations that I call “cafe art”.
Ludwig Keck

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