Part 1 Proj 3B–Reportage

Find a street that particularly interests you – it may be local or further afield. Shoot
30 colour images and 30 black and white images in a street photography style.
In your learning log, comment on the differences between the two formats.
What difference does colour make? Which set do you prefer and why?


I thought that a local street market would be a suitable location, busy with browsers and in good weather too.  I shot the first set in black and white, as a setting on the camera – they weren’t edited from colour.  The second set were done in normal colour but I used the RAW images rather than the JPG’s converting them as a batch and opening up the shadows a bit for them all – it was a contrasty day.  I didn’t have that luxury with the b/w photographs.

Here are the colour images:

And the b/w images:

The street photography style I chose was incognito, by which I mean mainly shot from the hip or chest, in any case not through the viewfinder.  I don’t usually do this but thought I’d give it a try for a change.  Frankly, either it doesn’t really work or I’m just not very good at it.  Probably the latter.  As far as worthwhile images go, I can’t pick out any, colour or b/w.  But I don’t think that’s the point for this exercise, the question is what difference does colour make?

The plain out-of-the-camera colour is a distraction for me but perhaps things could be improved with careful colour grading.  As it stands, the colour is just confusing because there is so much of it.  I think that if I’d shot with the intention of finding colour-relevant images it may have been more successful but I think the b/w images work better, even if they are generally too contrasty.  Easy to see why Bruce Gilden uses guerrilla flash in New York’s harsh sunlight.

The b/w series isolates and emphasises shape, position and form due to the lack of colour information, which is actually too much information.  It cascades out from the frame and overwhelms the viewer (me, anyway) with prettiness, which is fine if that’s what you want from a series.  I think colur makes street photography harder because it’s just one more compositional factor to cope with.