Steel worker carrying steel rods in construction site

Black and White Photo

A Black and White Photograph

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

Click image to see higher resolution photo at Flickr

Ludwig Keck – Self-Portrait

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.

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!