New York City - Midtown WestBlack and white food photos just don't get any respect in my opinion. Everyone is so gung-ho about color, and while I cannot argue against the naturally sensuous and appetizing default qualities of color (after all, food is in color), there is something to be said about the unique tonality of monochrome photography, the sublime textures which can pop when a color-to-B/W conversion is finessed in your processing software. I'll bet you have more than one photo that you growl about because its cast is too yellow, green, or blue regardless of whether you shoot under natural or artificial light. Black and white can dramatically impact your images and train your eye to view highlights, shadows, and midtones in a whole new light, if you'll pardon the photog pun.
UPDATED January 2012. Please see link below at end of fourth paragraph. Thank you. : )
So, what I am proposing is Black and White Wednesday, a new culinary photo event which will run weekly and feature food-related imagery. Your photo/s need not be of actual food, but also of the preparation, presentation, and consumption of it. There are restaurants, with their facades, signs, and awnings, kitchens and staffs; sidewalk cafes and umbrella tables; street food (carts, kiosks, food trucks); food courts and fast-food joints; farmers markets, stalls, stores, grocery shelves; and pressing your lens, rather than your nose, against that bakery window. Look, too, at what's going on inside your own kitchens and dining areas: pantries, pot racks, tools and utensils, appliances; glassware, dishes, and utensils; set tables, buffets, cocktail and dinner parties, and picnics; and friends, neighbors, and strangers sitting on curbs chomping down corn on the cob or licking the drips off ice cream cones. Whether it's a bowl of rice to a pot of bouillabaisse bubbling on your stove, leave no crumb unturned.
Participation is as easy as I can possibly make it. You don't need a story nor a recipe nor a location. There will be no competing, curating, nor critiquing. Even though I've created a logo, its use is optional. The only requirement is that you post your black and white photo/s on your Wednesday (wherever you are in the world) mentioning Black and White Wednesday and linking to this announcement. For those who use Twitter, I've created a hashtag (#BWFood) to make it easier to find related conversations.
Send your post link and attached image file, around 500 wide X 700 long/or 700 wide X 500 long/ or 600 square, to thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com with BWW in the subject field. I will ensure that your submission and link are included in the gallery for that Wednesday, as long as I receive your details by around (UPDATED/Effective January, 11, 2012) 9:00 p.m. New York time. If you come in late, you will be among the first featured for the next week. You don't even have to send every photo you post, but please include a title for each image since I will not be writing up any introductions. If you do not include a title, please allow me to save time by taking the liberty of providing one for you. The image/s can be ancient or shot the same day as posted, but you must be the owner and hold the copyright. This event is open to all: vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, but please refrain from submitting images that would require a strong stomach. Here are further updates of the guidelines, effective January 11, 2012. Please take a few moments to read them. If you need any sort of clarity, please send me an email. I will respond quickly.
Tips for Black and White Images:
* Adjust your digital camera settings (either in auto modes or manually) to shoot in B/W. Aim for a correctly exposed image to minimize corrections later on, or better still...
* Shoot in color, then play with the different B/W conversion tools in your processing software. Most software offers the simplicity of a click or the manipulation of sliders. There are several tools such as desaturation and removal of color with effects that are less sophisticated and visually arresting as others, but do, in fact, do the job. If you choose these methods, you have the option of further refining the highlights, shadows, and midtones by working with the levels dialogue box. Levels can adjust the lighting to brighten and darken areas of your image, as well as change contrast, for more drama.
*Experiment with different B/W filter effects, such as Green, Orange, or Infrared. These filters will not actually impart colors onto your images, but manipulate the light waves to create very different B/W looks. Some of these effects will be more attractive to you than others based on composition, subject matter, and personal taste. Although all B/W photos have vague warm or cool tones, you will find that filters such as Sepia or Cyanotype will tint your images with either discernibly brown or blue tones. Given the inexact and debatable nature of the definition of monochrome/grayscale, and that color monitors are not equally calibrated, nor do our very human eyes register color exactly as those of the next gal/fellow, I will also feature monochrome/grayscale images with Sepia and Cyanotype tones in addition to the obviously well-known and traditional B/Ws. Please know, though, that B/Ws tinted pink, purple, green, cobalt, etc., are best suited elsewhere; perhaps there is a Flickr group which specializes in these images.
Those who have photography blogs which are not food driven may also participate, as long as your images are of a culinary nature and follow the guidelines here. I will link to your photo posts with the images featured. I'd love to see you here, too.
*Always consult the Help feature of your processing software for additional techniques specific to your brand.
* Consider shooting film. The tonal range of B/W film makes for extraordinary images that are very natural and attractive. In our digital age of the most modern technology, film may seem antiquated and slow, but the results can be quite lovely and virtually impossible to replicate otherwise.
* Don't forget your camera phone. There are many apps that are inexpensive or free which you can download for instant, funky, black and white looks.
* Your post processing can include adding textures such as noise and blur for creative effect.
Let's see...have I left anything out? Oh, yes, that sink full of sudsy, dirty dishes. Really. You'd be surprised at how artfully you can arrange and capture a mess. ; )