The Street In Color

As you know, I definitely see street life in black & white.  There are several reasons for that. First, I like the timeless quality of B&W. To me, it evokes an emotion that color cannot convey. Converting your images in monochrome also has the benefit of removing distracting colorful elements from the frame and drawing the eye to the main subject.

Yet, there are times when the scene is all about color and texture and the human element is an added bonus to an already great backdrop. I chose the following image to illustrate my point. I shot this scene in Paris last week, the stage was all about color and grit. It just took a few minutes for the right subject to walk through the frame. I think it’s the cinematic feel of the image that speaks to me.

Do I still see life in the streets in B&W? Absolutely, but not exclusively! What are your thoughts?

©Valérie Jardin

©Valérie Jardin

10 thoughts on “The Street In Color

  1. I feel most of street photography looks best in black and white. The street is just far too complex to control, and most of the time the color distracts from the message. And yet, a scene can happen to be about the color, and if the composition is simple enough, it will work- like your image here. I think there is place for both color and B&W in street photography, and this has to be determined in image by image basis – by the photographer.


  2. I switch between B&W and color all the time. I don’t see my shots in B&W or in color (unless something colorfully catches my eye). I’m mostly looking at light and what it’s doing. I make the color decision later when I working out the processing. I almost always processing everything in B&W first to get the tonal range correct and then swap in color. If that doesn’t look right and I really feel the image would be better served in color, I will reset everything and reprocess with a lighter hand in color.

    With that said; I have been wanting to shoot more color images so I start out my walks with that in mind.


  3. I enjoy looking at photos in both colour and black and white, but I especially love looking at old photos, probably because they’re in black and white. I often try switching some of my photos to BW but I never leave them that way. Not sure why.


  4. I love the framing and the pop of red against the other neutral colors is perfect. I find there are times that images call for color and other times where b&w is better, but my inclination is usually towards color. B&w is growing on me.


  5. I was always curious Valerie why your street scenes were in B & W and I understand your explanation, however we don’t see the world in B & W and I’m really happy to see color here. I love painted old doors, and this is a very good example of fantastic color and architecture!


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