Less is More

Less is More
6th September 2014 Steve Stoddart

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.

Wild Oats

An exercise in ‘Depth of Field’.

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…

St. Andrew's Church, Covehythe

‘Downsizing’ medieval style.

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 🙂

Comments (2)

  1. Annya 10 years ago

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

    • Author
      Steve Stoddart 10 years ago

      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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