Photographers have had controls for rendering color for some time, but no where near as much as today. When I first started using color slide film, the selection was relatively small. I used Kodak film, mostly Kodachrome. When Fujichromes hit the market with there vibrant renditions, I switched to it for most of my work. Other than film though, color is determined by the actual subject, the kind of light (temperature, or Kelvin) falling on the subject (and the surrounding colors in relation to the subject), the exposure decisions I make, filtration, and printing. I never liked enhancing or color filters, but do use a polarizer often.

Then of course there were color controls involved in the printing. From slide film, an internegative had to be made from which a traditional C-print was created. The original slide being a positive image allowed for close matching of colors, or at least a reference point for making color decisions.

Now with digital image controls, color is more of a creative decision than ever before and I think that is the way it should be. No other medium is constrained by color choice as photography seems to be. I came across this line on Luminous Landscape (Reading Tea Leaves) and believe it to be a truism. Michael writes “Colour exists in our heads, it is not an absolute, and it therefore demands interpretation by our minds and hearts.” While I am personally interested in rendering colors that represent my subject closely, it is my creative decision to do so, not a rule I follow. Color is such a powerful conveyor of feeling that to take the control of it away from the photographer is to limit the emotional range they can express. That being said, I’ve been enjoying doing some black and white renderings lately as well. Oh yea, with some sepia toning 🙂

Deer Running
Buy this 11×14 print double-matted to 16×20 for $79.00 plus shipping

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2 thoughts on “Color as Creative Choice

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