Cone Free Photography

These days, creating a photo in black and white is an artistic decision.  Digital photography allows us the freedom to capture our images in full color and decide later how to process them.  We’re no longer locked into finishing a whole roll of one type of film.So why would I choose to process an image in black and white?  Seeing images monochromatically is actually something our eyes do every day, or every night to be more accurate.

Interested in a little science lesson?  Here are a couple of good articles on How Do We See Colors and The Eye and Night Vision.  In a nutshell:  Cones are in the center of the retina, are for full light and color vision.  Rods are around the peripheral and are for low light monochrome vision.  We have many times (10-17) more rods than cones.  We’re very accustomed to seeing in black and white, even if we don’t realize it.

Artistically speaking, when the color is removed from an image, the other elements are allowed to come forward.  Contrast, texture, line – things we may not have noticed before.  They say when we lose one of our senses, the others become stronger.  Vision is a collection of sub-senses; color is only one of them.  Sometimes, it’s interesting to give our “cones” some time off.

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