Further exploration of the world of black and white as my interest has recently spiked upon receiving the book The Americans. This photography book by Robert Frank was released in 1959 and reviled upon publication for showing the “less glamourous” side of America. The body of work has since become the “book that changed photography”. Also, it seems to be the book in every street photographer’s collection.

To summarize, in the 1950s, Swiss-born photographer came to America and receives a fellowship from the Guggenheim to document his nearly two-year travel across the States. He shot 767 rolls of film or 27,000 frames. Another year was spent editing (print, select and layout) and ultimately 83 images were chosen to become The Americans which was released in 1959. A first edition for this once reviled book now list for $2750 on ebay. Robert Frank shot exclusively with a Leica.

As much as I like black and white photography, I’m not sure it translates well for the wErk that I do. It’s almost blasphemous to convert the brilliantly saturated colors of the early Porsches. I’m still trying to figure this out.

The two samples below, for me, are prefect examples that I would rather see in color.

EDIT: Seth sent me his black and white take on my photo. Felt this was worthy of posting and like the idea of sharing other people’s interpretation.

However, since this is a white car with black graphics, here is an example of preferring the black and white.

I’ll post up more examples but for now I’d like to get your thoughts on black and white vs. color.

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9 Responses to PUSH THE SKY AWAY

  1. Chet Dawes says:

    The way you do color and with the early 911 as your subject, I like color.
    I am a big B&W fan generally but the 911 deserves color.

  2. Seth O. says:

    To me black and white photos look best with people. If it’s an object being photographed, then I think it works if the object is highly textured. To me, automobiles don’t really work in black and white that well, unless they are wrecks. A rusted hulk in a field…. A long forgotten barn find…..

  3. Bob Tilton says:

    Thanks Chet! I do feel viewers should not be robbed of seeing these cars in color.

    Seth – I completely agree with you!

    I’m going to show some additional examples of other photographers plus some of my own wErk to continue the discussion.

  4. Vic says:

    Horses for course. Why choose and all that jazz. But I think Seth makes a good point.

    Sometimes I think that because B&W is different from how we normally see the world, it makes you reassess the content of what you’re seeing afresh more than colour. I’m not sure, but I think that’s part of why it works so well for reportage and war photography.

  5. Vic says:

    PS those Robert Frank shots are stunning aren’t they?

  6. Jeroen says:

    I love the impact of B&W, but agree that it’s not always the right tool for the job.

  7. Seth Oestreicher says:

    I just pulled in your picture of the red 911 and applied some filtering….

    I went way darker….. By doing that, the front car isn’t as prominent, and the reflection across the side really helps accentuate the body lines. I also tried to emulate a much more shallow depth of field, further de-emphasizing the car in front. It also makes the Fuchs really pop.

    Is it “better”? As Vic said Horses for Courses….

  8. tyger says:

    I like the fact that you are thinking about the subject and outcome.
    The act of “intention” is what makes your work a step above.

    There is always intention in your work and that is fantastic.

    b&w vs colour seems to be a case to case basis esp in your work that screams colour like old kodachrome!

  9. Bob Tilton says:

    I would agree that it is a case by case basis opting for one or the other.

    Seth – send me the pic and I will upload to this post. Very curious.

    Thanks Seth. I think I spend most of my time being confused hence the exploration. 😉

    Many thanks for all the comments! More welcomed.

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