You Cannot Do B&W Work Like This With Digital!

2013-8-4 Ancient Stones Composite - Final 8-4-2013


I was exhibiting my “Ancient Stones” portfolio when someone approached.

We both stood there looking at the images when he said: “You just cannot do b&w work like this with digital!”  

I didn’t have the heart to tell him, but thought of this anecdote: 

“A photographer went to a socialite party in New York.  As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ 
He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific Stove.'”  Sam Haskins
Equipment is necessary, but it’s not nearly as important as many of us think it is. 

11 Responses to “You Cannot Do B&W Work Like This With Digital!”

  • Roger Says:

    “50% the photographer, 40% the light, 10% the equipment.” (author unknown). That special lens or great tripod or whatever can certainly facilitate taking/creating an image, but there is absolutely no substitute for the photographer’s ability. A hockey analogy of all things. One goalie spends endless hours researching the best equipment (i.e., pads, mask, catch glove, skates, etc.) and constantly buys the latest and “greatest”. The other uses his old equipment and studies technique, practices, analyzes opponent’s/shooter’s strengths, etc. Who do you think makes the better goalie? As to film vs. digital – the debate will probably end.

  • Roger Says:

    Correction to above – a better question might be: Which goalie has the best chance to maximize their potential? (sorry for the diversion)

  • Mark Wade Says:

    …and there was a day when we thought space travel was a ludicrous idea…

    always evolving

  • Roberta Says:

    When people ask me what kind of camera i use- i smile and very nicely
    say”black” 🙂

  • Michael l young Says:

    If St. Ansel of Adams is the bench mark for such x-spurts as perhaps he is for the viewer in the post, then a careful reading of St. Ansel’s auto biography circa 1985 should be in order.
    St. Ansel was a technology freak period. Worked with Dr. Land to develop the Polaroid beta tested the haas 6×6 as an intro to the us market, he even predicted the digital camera age. If St. Ansel were alive today he would be a digital super freak. He would have roto scanned moon rise and would still be performing his visual renditions digitally. Adams, White et. al. developed the holy zone system because there was no such thing as poly contrast anything, no poly paper no poly film. They were forced to squeeze out all they could with the technology at hand. I have a photographer friend well versed in all manner of imagery who swears I am lying about a series of my b&w nudes being digital. We humans are funny. Ansel if alive today would be the digital master that he was with film.
    Cole as always your work is massive cool! Thanks for sharing your work and your travels.
    Michael L Young
    Houston, Tejas

  • Steve L Says:

    I had someone tell me how much they liked one of my wide angle shots. I didn’t let them know it was actually taken with a 50mm lens!
    What’s the difference, after all??

  • Chuck Kimmerle Says:

    Geez, Cole, if he had told you years ago that it couldn’t be done, image all the work he could have saved you.

  • Jeff Says:

    It is the equipment but the person operating the equipment and the cleanup work after the picture is the real key. It is how the person who took the photo envisioned what they saw.

  • Gerard Says:

    ha funny, equipment is just a means to an end not the end itself, I use film and digital, they are just different I wouldn’t say one is better than the other per se… peoples perceptions are funny, its like when someone says did you Photoshop this… of course I did, what did you think we did in a darkroom!

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