Exercise – Colour and the street

Exercise – Colour and the street

I am to find a street that particularly interests me and shoot 30 colour images and 30 black and white images in a street photography style. Then, comment on the differences between the two formats.

The following images were taken in a local town on a sunny market day. I didn’t count how many of each format I was shooting, but here is an edited selection of photos I took on the day.

With British photographer Martin Parr in mind, I decided to shoot the colour photos in the “vivid” setting on my camera.

DSC_4989   DSC_5002

DSC_4991   DSC_4990

DSC_4987   DSC_5008

A pop of colour is dynamic and grabs attention. These vibrant images create an impression of cheerfulness and warmth. It is only when studying the images that I observe how the use of colour is used in marketing to attract attention – the stall awnings, price marker cards, balloons, flag and the layout of the fruit and veg stall.


DSC_4998    DSC_5003

DSC_4996     DSC_4997


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The black and white images offer a very different aspect. The focus here is on angles, shape, pattern, shade and light. More defined, they allow the viewer to see the detail. What is missing is the warmth and sunlight. One has to look closer at the people in the images and the clothing they wear to estimate the weather on the day.

For comparison I shot the following pairs in both black and white and vivid colour.

DSC_4995   DSC_4994

In the colour image it is easier to pick out individual items, such as the hues of the wool and the plants. The black and white image is more about lines and structure.

DSC_5001   DSC_5000

With this pair, the colours shout loudly, are attractive and create interest. While the monochrome effect appears to reverse the focal point i.e. the boxed candles at the rear of the stall are more defined, whereas in the colour image the the foreground is sharper.

Which set do I prefer and why? Although I enjoy looking at the bright, warm colours, I prefer the black and white images. Black and white photography has made a come back and is currently “on-trend”, but this is not why I prefer this set. I like the structure and clarity, the patterns and how the light plays on the images. The detail draws me in to look again whereas the colour shots are obvious and familiar, maybe this is because we view the world in colour.