On the subject of hackneyed and over wrought, I’d like to express my opinion about the over use of color. In my view color is too often used in a vain attempt to compensate for mediocre subject and composition. I have seen far too many flower pictures. Isn’t this beautiful? Not really, please wake me up when it’s over. Nature’s done a wonderful job of creating a beautiful flower, your photography, not so much.
And it’s an important point that color is so dominant to our sight that nature has used it in creating flowers. So it’s a pretty easy way to go if all you want to do is create the illusion of dramatic photographs. Sit back please, analyze what is your subject? What is the composition of your image?
To me, photography is first and foremost about form and composition. Then if you want to throw in a bit of color that works for me. Don’t over power me. Certainly some pictures work best in color. Sometimes one of the coolest things that you can do is take a color picture, which is just so subtle, just a touch of hue beyond black and white.
I am definitely a black and white kind of guy. I choose my subjects, usually for form and composition. The first thing that I do in my workflow is discard the color information. I then create the image and finally, a bit resentful of the added megabytes in the color plane, I often then return to RGB color; so that I can digitally tone the photograph. Almost always I tone sepia, trying to catch the pleasure of the selenium toning that I used to do in my analogue days. I find that sometimes this toning adds just the right amount of ump to the image. Maybe that’s a cop out. I worry about that Maybe I tone too much. Maybe my sepias cross the line to the muddy.
And do I need to emphasize again that this is my personal view of photography? I can share it with you. But you have to set your own rules, and if all you want to do is run around the garden taking snap shots – well wake me up when it’s over.