When you conjure an image of Hawaii in your mind, what do you think of? Turquoise oceans, green jungles, lava flowing from volcanoes? Those images are what I used to picture when thinking of Hawaii, and for the most part still do. However, now that I have visited the beautiful island of Kauai (yay!) my memories and the photos I took inform a large part of what I visualize.
When I initially began looking through the photos from that trip, nothing much stood out to me. There were a few photos that I loved, and of course some great photos of my family, but I was left wishing that I could have gotten more out of the trip, photography wise. Many months later I decided to have another look through the Kauai file and was pleasantly surprised. I discovered some photos that I barely gave any credence to originally because I didn't think there was much to them.
I did this by changing how I perceived the photos and Kauai itself. Originally I was very concerned with preserving and enhancing the natural richness of colors. Because that is Hawaii, right? You don't see Hawaii without a white sand beach and blue ocean waters. However, doing away with that notion helped me find new beauty in Kauai's landscapes. Instead of solely focusing on the color, I changed the images to B&W to highly other aspects of the composition. It brought a new richness and life to the photos that helped me to appreciated these landscapes in a new way. These B&W images tell a different story than their colorized versions.
There are definitely a few photos where I struggled with doing away with the color, but in the end I wanted to test how we can view images differently.
I have always been a fan of high contrast images, and B&W emphasized that so beautifully. I think it hails to when I was first studying photography in high school and using an analog camera to study the basics. My practice is definitely informed by those early studies.
When I first viewed the two images above I liked them, but visually thought they were kind of boring. B&W breathes something new into them, tells something different than if they were colorized.
In the end, I love using B&W because it emphasizes different aspects of the photo than if it were in color. Form and contrast become important in distinct ways. Changing these photos to B&W breathed something new into them for me, and I am enjoying it immensely.