VVC Instructor, The Master of Color

BY BRENT WOOD
VVC PHOTOGRAPHY INSTRUCTOR

 

I have been photographing since the age of 13.
In that time, less than one percent of my artwork
has been imaged in color.
Black and white photography is a conscious
choice. Black and white isn’t less expensive, easier
or more available; it has been an artistic expressive
choice since the invention of photography in
1826. With black and white, the mood and vision
of a scene can be altered from reality to fit my
personal vision.
To coin an Ansel Adams term, with black and
white I can pre-visualize a scene or see the finished
print in my mind’s eye prior to the moment of exposure.
The exposure and processing controls in black
and white photography allow many artistic variations;
most of the variations depart from reality.
Color has few artistic choices and, therefore,
must be exposed and processed per manufactures
methods. The ridged controls of color is why many
fine art photographers still chose the flexibility of
black and white, both film and digital.
All of that said, there are just times when no
other artistic medium will allow my vision to show
through. At times when black and white will not fit
my vision, when color film or digital won’t work, I
use hand coloring. The coloring is either done the
traditional transparent oil way or by coloring with
a computer.
The Pelican Heaven image is an example of this
colored vision. The day was very overcast. I used
color film, color digital and black and white film. I
sensed the scene in front of me would be one of my
best if I could get my vision to paper. The colors in
the scene were too muted to effectively create the
mood I was after when using film or digital. The
completed image was produced by using black and
white and coloring it with Adobe Photoshop.
Color is an artistic choice for every photographer.
Both color film and digital are tools in our
visionary box and are used when the scene in front
of us calls for color. The photographs before you
are all images where color spoke to me prior to
the moment of exposure; color is what I saw as the
finished print. Venice Beach, Pelican Heaven and
Salton Sea are just some of the areas that scream
color in my ear.