Choice of Emphasis

The question that I often ask myself when making an image is, “What do I want to emphasize?” The answer to that question allows me to use light, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and pattern to make a successful black-and-white photograph.

The image of this mailbox works well as a color image. The color contrast between the gold and the black is a striking one—it’s what really grabbed my attention. The eyes go immediately to the mailboxes and are virtually locked on them as a result of their brightness, contrast, sharpness, and color saturation.

However, when I converted the image into a black-and-white image, I experienced the very same scene in a different way. The mailboxes are still the anchor of the image, but now the ...

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