Josie’s Corner Cafe in black-and-white – Am I cheating here?

I continue to explore a new approach on some of my black-and-white photos, giving  my pics a “hard,” even unnatural, appearance in processing. Here’s another example of that approach; and another; and another with some more discussion of the process.

While this process does produce some unusual and eye-catching affects, I do wonder if it’s sort of … I don’t know … cheating. I mean, who can’t just play around with the controls until it looks cool? Is that really what photography is about? Does it really matter what photography is about? Does the process really matter as long as the end result is effective? Nobody criticizes a painter because they just made up something entirely out of their head. Is there just something about the photos that feels inauthentic?

Anyway, below is my latest image to receive that treatment (Click on it for a larger view). This is a photo of Josie’s Corner Cafe & Bake Shop (among other things) in downtown Fargo. I took this photo during one of the ‘Cruisin on Broadway’ events in 2012. I was drawn to this guy who was outside smoking, but i was just never satisfied with it until I turned it black and a white and pushed the look of it. I really darkened the “blue” tones of the photo (you can do that even though it’s in black and white) which really darkened the sky and brought out its detail. That’s what seemed to finally make the photo really work. If you like this image, you can seem more of my stuff here.

2 thoughts on “Josie’s Corner Cafe in black-and-white – Am I cheating here?

  1. B would probably say it’s cheating. He hates pics to be messed with. He’s a purist that way. I like the effect–looks way cooler–but I think if I buy a book of photographs I want the images to be true–like what’s cool is what’s really there and captured. I suppose in that we could make anything look neat if we messed with it. And while I do believe that’s art and artistic, I really appreciate seeing a photo of something amazing, as in its amazingness was captured, not made into something amazing-looking by the artist. Does that make sense? B and I would both consider ourselves artists in our way and we are among the relatively small portion of the population that does purchase books full of art–paintings or photographs. Maybe some of the photos that I think are so cool have been modified. Does that make them less neat-looking? I guess no, from the standpoint of the image itself, but from the perspective that someone hasn’t CAPTURED something true AND amazing, yes.

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Doralyn. I guess a photographer has to sort of decide what type of photographer he/she wants to be. I do have a soft spot for the documentary side of photography, perhaps, in part, because of my background as a reporter. I don’t seem to have fully settled on my “voice” as a photographer yet.

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