Less is More

Sound bites are often regarded with a cynical eye… – What may start out as well-crafted and powerful statement is often suborned by slick advertising campaigns or slippery politicians looking out for votes 🙂 It is a shame because sometimes, a simple phrase holds a simple truth. I have one in mind –

“Less is more”

I recall this one in particular because of the first place I saw it. Of all places, it was on a toilet-roll dispenser 🙁 Surely NOT the place to recommend using less than you should…

Fortunately, monochrome photography (or any imagery for that matter) comes to the rescue and provides a FAR more savoury use for this phrase. The “Less” being the absence of colour and how this appears to make an image finer..

I suppose the reason for this is down to the physiology of the eye… While, during daylight hours, we predominantly use our colour vision to guide us through the day, the more sensitive components within our eyes see only in monochrome. So, take out the colour and the detail in the monochrome image is all the clearer for it.

I have cobbled together a couple of examples… See what you think. Do you see more in the monochrome versions? If you do, what is that you find easier to see in one than you do in the other? Does this make you prefer the monochrome over the colour?

This first example is a shot of Wild Oats that were growing on the border of one of the many wheat fields.. It was my intention to keep the depth of focus shallow – to draw the eye to the grace of the plant. Does this work better in Monochrome or colour?

Wild Oats

Wild Oats

This second example is a Church within the ruin of another.. Here, there is far greater depth to the image because the scene demands it…

Suffolk Churches

Photography aside, this old Church has an interesting history.. you can find out more here if you care to.

For both these examples, I have my own ideas about them but I would like to hear about your own 🙂

Wandering River provides professional photography and videography services. Find out how Steve can help you – view his portfolios or contact him for more information

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Article posted in Cultural. On


  1. Annya September 7, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I find that monochrome changes the mood in a picture, I hadn’t really noticed a change in clarity.

    • Steve Stoddart September 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      Interesting… I find the monochrome shots have both greater clarity and an altogether different mood 🙂

      I suppose “in the eye of the beholder” is a strangely apt saying 🙂

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