Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Black and White Wednesday - A Weekly Culinary Photo Event

Old World Eatery - NYC
New York City - Midtown West

UPDATED January 2012.  Please see link below at end of fourth paragraph.  Thank you. : )

Black and white food photos just don't get any respect in my opinion. Everyone is so gung-ho about color, and while I cannot argue against the naturally sensuous and appetizing default qualities of color (after all, food is in color), there is something to be said about the unique tonality of monochrome photography, the sublime textures which can pop when a color-to-B/W conversion is finessed in your processing software. I'll bet you have more than one photo that you growl about because its cast is too yellow, green, or blue regardless of whether you shoot under natural or artificial light. Black and white can dramatically impact your images and train your eye to view highlights, shadows, and midtones in a whole new light, if you'll pardon the photog pun.

So, what I am proposing is Black and White Wednesday, a new culinary photo event which will run weekly and feature food-related imagery. Your photo/s need not be of actual food, but also of the preparation, presentation, and consumption of it. There are restaurants, with their facades, signs, and awnings, kitchens and staffs; sidewalk cafes and umbrella tables; street food (carts, kiosks, food trucks); food courts and fast-food joints; farmers markets, stalls, stores, grocery shelves; and pressing your lens, rather than your nose, against that bakery window. Look, too, at what's going on inside your own kitchens and dining areas: pantries, pot racks, tools and utensils, appliances; glassware, dishes, and utensils; set tables, buffets, cocktail and dinner parties, and picnics; and friends, neighbors, and strangers sitting on curbs chomping down corn on the cob or licking the drips off ice cream cones. Whether it's a bowl of rice to a pot of bouillabaisse bubbling on your stove, leave no crumb unturned.

Participation is as easy as I can possibly make it. You don't need a story nor a recipe nor a location. There will be no competing, curating, nor critiquing. Even though I've created a logo, its use is optional. The only requirement is that you post your black and white photo/s on your Wednesday (wherever you are in the world) mentioning Black and White Wednesday and linking to this announcement. For those who use Twitter, I've created a hashtag (#BWFood) to make it easier to find related conversations.

Send your post link and attached image file, around 500 wide X 700 long/or 700 wide X 500 long/ or 600 square, to thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com with BWW in the subject field. I will ensure that your submission and link are included in the gallery for that Wednesday, as long as I receive your details by around (UPDATED/Effective January, 11, 2012) 9:00 p.m. New York time. If you come in late, you will be among the first featured for the next week. You don't even have to send every photo you post, but please include a title for each image since I will not be writing up any introductions. If you do not include a title, please allow me to save time by taking the liberty of providing one for you. The image/s can be ancient or shot the same day as posted, but you must be the owner and hold the copyright. This event is open to all: vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, but please refrain from submitting images that would require a strong stomach Here are further updates of the guidelines, effective January 11, 2012.  Please take a few moments to read them. If you need any sort of clarity, please send me an email.  I will respond quickly.  


Tips for Black and White Images:

* Adjust your digital camera settings (either in auto modes or manually) to shoot in B/W. Aim for a correctly exposed image to minimize corrections later on, or better still...
* Shoot in color, then play with the different B/W conversion tools in your processing software. Most software offers the simplicity of a click or the manipulation of sliders. There are several tools such as desaturation and removal of color with effects that are less sophisticated and visually arresting as others, but do, in fact, do the job. If you choose these methods, you have the option of further refining the highlights, shadows, and midtones by working with the levels dialogue box. Levels can adjust the lighting to brighten and darken areas of your image, as well as change contrast, for more drama.
*Experiment with different B/W filter effects, such as Green, Orange, or Infrared. These filters will not actually impart colors onto your images, but manipulate the light waves to create very different B/W looks. Some of these effects will be more attractive to you than others based on composition, subject matter, and personal taste. Although all B/W photos have vague warm or cool tones, you will find that filters such as Sepia or Cyanotype will tint your images with either discernibly brown or blue tones. Given the inexact and debatable nature of the definition of monochrome/grayscale, and that color monitors are not equally calibrated, nor do our very human eyes register color exactly as those of the next gal/fellow, I will also feature monochrome/grayscale images with Sepia and Cyanotype tones in addition to the obviously well-known and traditional B/Ws. Please know, though, that B/Ws tinted pink, purple, green, cobalt, etc., are best suited elsewhere; perhaps there is a Flickr group which specializes in these images.

Those who have photography blogs which are not food driven may also participate, as long as your images are of a culinary nature and follow the guidelines here. I will link to your photo posts with the images featured. I'd love to see you here, too.

*Always consult the Help feature of your processing software for additional techniques specific to your brand.
* Consider shooting film. The tonal range of B/W film makes for extraordinary images that are very natural and attractive. In our digital age of the most modern technology, film may seem antiquated and slow, but the results can be quite lovely and virtually impossible to replicate otherwise.
* Don't forget your camera phone. There are many apps that are inexpensive or free which you can download for instant, funky, black and white looks.
* Your post processing can include adding textures such as noise and blur for creative effect.

Let's see...have I left anything out? Oh, yes, that sink full of sudsy, dirty dishes. Really. You'd be surprised at how artfully you can arrange and capture a mess. ; )

65 comments:

  1. What an intriguing idea! I am going to be thinking about this!

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  2. I think it is a brilliant idea and you just might recieve that photo of dirty dishes from me. I have always been partial to B&W and sepia photos. I think I will love doing this. Let me just figure out the BW option on my point and shoot.

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  3. A great idea! I love that click.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. This sounds really exciting, I can't wait to get started! What a good idea!

    (And it's so true what you said about messiness looking somehow appealing when it's in B&W...)

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  5. That sounds interesting, I will be so looking forward for the roundup, I am excited :)

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  6. Thanks, everyone. I expect it will take some time before there are a sizable number of photos to display each week, but I've always been intrigued by B/W in general, so this idea's been simmering w/ me for a while. Can't wait to see your shots.

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  7. Susan,

    I love black and whites and this idea is great!

    Rinku

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  8. I think this is a great idea, Susan! You know I love black and white and exploring food in this medium is one of my personal projects.
    I'll try to join in as and when I can, though might not be here every Wednesday. :)
    Looking forward to seeing everyone's contribution.

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  9. This is a delicious sald that reminds me of warm nights in Italy.

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  10. Found this through Aprna and have recently started a WW series myself on my foodblog.
    Sent my BWW to you today ;o)

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  11. Thanks, Rinku. Would love to see some of your work when your schedule allows.

    Aparna - Thanks. As noted elsewhere, I'm happy to welcome your shots when you can arrange it.

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  12. Count me in too! Just got a new camera and am dying to play with it every chance I get!

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  13. Love this idea. Count me in. :)

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  14. This is exciting. Count me in. Will start participating as soon as I get back to the Caribbean.

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  15. I should have asked you this earlier. Anyway, can we use a photo from an earlier post that has been reposted (and in my case turned into a B&W one) for your event?

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  16. I will post mine starting next week, Susan. I have an interest in food photography in black and white, and also have thrown the discussion over on Flickr Food Photography Club discussion, but it seemed nobody was interested. Now you make this event, I hope people will come more and explore this monochrome on FP.

    Cheers!

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  17. Just found out about this and I'm very excited to participate. In fact, I did a B+W Sunday that I think is perfect and I will post it and send it along next Wednesday.

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  18. lovely event will participate soon

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  19. Beautiful idea.... surely will participate from next week.
    Reva

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  20. Definitely will join this event! Nice idea Susan :)

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  21. Hi, I arrived here through Arfi's blog. I use my iphone to take photo, is that ok?

    Ciao

    Alessandra

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  22. I will send my entry next week! It sounds like a wonderful event!

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  23. Nice event..would love to participate next week...:)

    http://varietyisthespiceofyourlife.blogspot.com/

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  24. I would love to join in to your Black & White Wednesday.

    I can't wait to come up with a photo graphic post each week.

    Thank you for hosting!

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  25. A very cool event - will try to participate next week - cheers, priya

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  26. Hi, I just sent out my entry for this week. Thanks!

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  27. Very arty, classic yet contemporary to shoot in B/W !! Wonderful event Susan.. Count me in :-) Wonderful space here too ! Glad to have bumped into this..

    Cheers
    Kalyani
    New Event: Fasting Foods – Vrat ka Khaana Special
    Event: healthy Lunchbox ideas – Carrots – all this August

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  28. What a great idea Susan..I love B&W photos..I will be in for the next week..Thanks for hosting such an event!

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  29. This is a lovely idea, Susan!I hope to pitch in someday:)Till then I'll watch out for the lovely entries!

    Cheers,
    Wit,wok&wisdom

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  30. Susan,
    This is a lovely food event..will try to send in some ..hugs and smiles

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  31. What a terrific idea! I love black and white photos. (We had an argument with a photographer about whether our family photo should be in black and white. Sadly, he won the argument and the photo is dully in colour.)

    If I ever get my act together, I'll be sure to join in. But in the meantime, how great it will be to see others' b&w photos.

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  32. Lovely event...have sent in an entry..

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  33. I always loved black and white photo's(and my brother and me love to watch black and white movies too).
    Great pics here:)
    I just have a blog (do you know Vivien Meier) ,(about unfamous and unkknown,but belleive me that is gonna cahnge) Chicago photographer that somebody discovered( her work,which was never published,sadly) just couple of days after she died,Her photographs are black and white and will trill you and touch you deeply:)

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  34. Amazing idea....will send a photo soon :)

    Sohini

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  35. how might i go about submitting a photograph?

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  36. I love B/W pictures, so I'll join the event just starting today...

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  37. Thank you, everyone! The event is a great success - all to you; I keep getting more and more stunners from you every week. It's a very long day for me, but worth it.

    Anon - The procedure is in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of this post. You do not have to be a blogger to contribute a photo.

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  38. Love your blog and the b&w Wednesday idea! Keep up the great work!

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  39. I read about you and this event through Cindystar, very interesting! I just shot yesterday a B&W...but I'm in late! next time...! lovely blog!

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  40. First time here Susan, you have a wonderful space. Will send in my entry next week. Glad to follow you dear.

    Have added ur event at my space.

    Saraswathi Iyer
    www.simplysara07.blogspot.com
    www.sarafoodevents.blogspot.com

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  41. That is a good idea. Just yesterday I was talking to another food blogger and we agreed of being rather satiated with food photos that all look the same, have the same style, etc. B/W will be a welcome change.

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  42. lovely idea...I had been coming across links to BWW in many blog posts and jus had a chance to read about it in detail. WIll surely try to contribute in future...novel idea!. Glad to follow your blog:-)

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  43. I am directing a culinary-literature blog in Polish. Last week I wrote about your idea of making wednesday a day of black-white fotos. Four of my authors and/or readers send me the fotos and comments. The results are there: http://ewamaria030.blox.pl/2011/10/Fatalna-sroda.html

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  44. I've been seeing the B&W images and wondered about them. I've decided to work seriously on my photography skills for my blog, doing B&W would be a great exercise and fun! You can count me in.

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  45. See our new black & white post:
    http://ewamaria030.blox.pl/2011/10/Czarno-biale-wspomnienia-z-dziecinstwa.html

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  46. Dear Susan, what a great idea! I will send you my B/W picture one of these wednesdays! ciao from Italy

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  47. great idea, susan! love it!
    will send my entry soon.

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  48. Susan: Anyone can participate?? Will try my best to capture the best shots!!!

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  49. I would love to participate, it is a great challenge to work on my photography skills.

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  50. What a lovely idea - I'll definitely participate soon!

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  51. thats exciting one!! first time here & following u now

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  52. Just sent in my entry Susan. Thanks!

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  53. You are definitely inspiring--I haven't done any b/w photography in years and years, but I did have my own darkroom back in the 70s. Your photos are rich and interesting. I may have to brush up...

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  54. Thanks for posting this event. I'll try to participate.

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  55. Interesting!I too will try to come up with a b/w post next Wednesday..
    Susan,U haven't visited my space..Always,welcome..

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  56. Very good idea, thank you, I will participate from my side of the globetrotting planet!

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  57. What a great idea, I will participate! thank you

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  58. Oh God, I just found out about this event, and I will definitely participate every week!! I adore B&W!!!

    IDania

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  59. What a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing it here

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