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Interpretation & Black & White; Exploring The Potential, Using The Tools:
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The ability to alter and change tonal and contrast relationships opens many image options. When I photographed this cathedral ceiling (#4) I did so to record the interplay of arches and vaults. When I processed it later I saw the intricacy of the design and abstracted it to a play of line and shadow. Does the interpretation change what I saw when I snapped the shutter? Perhaps it gets to its essence.


This process can be roughly described as informed seeing, pre-visualizing what the image will look like after post-processing, understanding the potential of the image, and then applying techniques to make it all happen. Photography is truly a blend of art and science; the science serves the art, while the art can only be truly realized through an application of the science. Happily, much of the science is made easy with modern cameras, metering systems and the ultimately malleable medium—digital imaging. But these can only take you so far. It is in the exploration of the art where the real experience takes place, where your expression of the world is made manifest.

Not every black and white shot becomes manipulated in emotional or abstract ways. Yet, even a more documentary shot like this (#5) can be interpreted and changed to bring forth every tone and nuance and enhance the exposure and the scene. Here, all the colors in the fence and surrounding areas, and even the sky, is manipulated by working with processing conversion of color to grayscale tone (#6). I could have made the blue in the fence, for example, lighter or darker—here I decided to darken that hue and lighten the pink and green.



The idea is to combine a consideration of the aesthetics of the unique monochrome medium—tonality, contrast and texture—with the tools of the craft and their applications to make effective images.

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