Here again are two different takes on the same subject. Cottonwood is more of an environmental portrait of the tree. It gives you a sense of where it lives and the color adds reality to the image. In Lone Cottonwood the environment is minimized and the color is stripped away leaving a simple portrait of the tree. Is one more correct than the other or is one better than the other? I don’t think so. The color image Cottonwood is more realistic than the black and white image because we live in world full of color. Black and white is an artificial manipulation or reality. It’s often seen as more noble than color but that’s more about the fact that it’s older. We may never have even had black and white film if people learned how to make color film first.
I don’t think one is better than the other and I use both for different reasons. Color plays on different emotions and generally makes people happy. Black and white makes people think, you need to slow down and look more closely to see the image. It’s one of the reasons why I feel Ansel Adams work is still so popular today. His images make you slow down and really look at them and think. Because black and white is not reality we can’t glace over it as easily and understand it. Many of Ansel’s images have been recreated in color by an untold number of photographers of all abilities. I personally have seen many of the things he photographed and I have to admit that I often like his images better than the real thing. Incidentally Ansel did work in color and created a significant body of work but surprisingly many people aren’t even aware of it.
In my Western Color collection I try and create images that capture the true natural beauty of the American West. I want the viewer to see the west as I see it. In my black-white-west series I want people to think about and feel the American West. Many of the images that I create draw on the folklore of the old west, the pioneers and the fantasy of days gone by.