Simon & Garfunkel once said "Everything looks worse in black and white".
The song was "Kodachrome", a tune that every photographer is familiar with. They changed "worse" to "better" during their 1981 concert in Central Park. No doubt a nod to their advancing age.
Or they just forgot the words.
Anyway, the decision to apply a monochrome ("black and white") treatment to a photo depends on many things. Probably the most important, I think, is the color and contrast in the image. Some images really pop in monochrome, some don't.
Also important is the mood of the photo - or at least the mood that you're going for. A great variation on the standard monochrome treatment is "sepia" toning (pronounced "see-pee-uh"). An image rendered with sepia toning has more of a reddish-brown coloring, and generally has the feel of an old photo, or at least a photo of an old subject. So if that's the mood you'd like to achieve, sepia will probably get you there.
I applied a sepia treatment to some interior photos taken while visiting Casa Loma, a Gothic Revival mansion in Toronto.
Sometimes, a monochrome/sepia treatment helps a photo, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's better with, sometimes it's better without. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.
I'll share both the color and the sepia images here, and let you decide. I won't hit you with them all at once - we'll start with one image in this post, and follow up with the others in the next few posts.
So, let's start simple with this image of an old-style telephone, nestled in a nook in the wall in one of the rooms of the mansion.
The color image:
And the sepia image:
You be the judge - which is the better treatment? Is the color image more pleasing to the eye? Or, does the sepia image add a historic feel to the photo? Let me know what you think in the comments (or email me directly).
Stay tuned for the next few images...