NO. 5 – TELL A STORY
Get the message across without the confusion of colour
When it comes to shooting documentary work, black and white is often the best way forward. This is partly because so many of the classic documentary and street photos that helped define the genre were captured in the 1950s and 1960s, before colour film became more commonplace. But black and white’s way of simplifying the scene means that many photographers have stuck with it ahead of colour. This helps the viewer to focus in on what’s actually taking place in the image, with fewer visual distractions.
Another benefit of black and white when it comes to documentary photography is that it enables you to present a consistent look across a series of images that are intended to work together to tell a story. This is hugely beneficial when it comes to disparate images that may well have been captured in very different lighting conditions. Above all else, the work of Magnum photographers such as Don McCullin, David Hurn and Bruce Davidson is testament to the enduring power of black and white when it comes to telling a story.