Today we are introducing a new feature that we call the “Photographer’s Showcase.” From time to time we will post the work of photographers whom we believe exemplify or extend photojournalism as it is an important public art. We will feature their work without commentary, although we do of course encourage you, our readers, to comment and link on behalf of our common interests.
There are many fine photographers and the authors of this blog know only a very few of them. We spend our days in the university, not the newsroom, and have little opportunity to meet with working photographers, attend exhibitions, or otherwise make connections that could lead to work being posted here. If you know of photographers whose work should be featured, please contact us. Self-nominations are welcome, as photographers today have enough problems without having to be modest as well.
We inaugurate the Photographer’s Showcase with the work of Patrick Andrade. Patrick is a freelance photographer affiliated with the Atlas Press. His work has appeared in the NYT, Newsweek, and Paris Match as well as many other places. He is currently following the campaign for the presidency. The work posted here is a series of black and white photographs that feature the people of Campaign 2008 – On The Road. Click on the photograph below to see the full slide show.
Why black and white?
Living in the digital age as he does and working in a competitive field requiring the near-immediate delivery of his images, there can be little doubt that Mr. Andrade shoots (or as we now say, “captures”) his images using a DSLR, not film. That probably means that he captures the images in color and converts them after the fact to black and white.
This artistic choice between color and black and white can now be made after considering an existing photograph. It adds another level, another choice to the editing process and gives the photographer another bit of post-capture control. The photographer can actually look at black and white and color versions of the same photo side by side and choose. In this age of digital photography it’s altogether likely that a pretty good photo can be made excellent by subtraction.
How different that is from just a decade ago when the choice would have to be made either in deciding which film to load into the camera, in which case that camera body was committed one way or the other for 36 frames, or in grabbing the right camera of two or three hanging from the photographer’s neck.
In the good old days if you shot in black and white there was no potential for seeing those images in color. Shooting in black and white required a firm commitment to that medium because there was no turning back.
So why black and white?
Because subtracting color adds so much. To my eye, color photos attempt to create a representative image, to recreate a scene, but because they’re just photos, they inevitably fail.
Black and white photos on the other hand set out to interpret rather than represent. The black and white photo removes an entire layer of potentially distracting information from the image, paradoxically adding depth and immediacy. Where color photographs attempt to lecture to us, black and white photos offer us a story.
By the way, Mr. Andrade, beautiful work.
jessica white photos…
Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts !…