Paul Gallagher • The Subtlety of Grey

In the pursuit of the starkness of black and white images there is a whole range of tones missing: greys. Paul Gallagher explains why this colour shouldn’t be ignored so easily

It goes without saying that to see another photographer’s work is always a pleasure and offers me an understanding into how they ‘see’ the world, which is often rewarding and fascinating at the same time. Many bodies of work I have witnessed have been stunning and the print quality has been beautiful.

Someone recently asked me what I thought was the most common ‘problem’ or ‘mistake’ was in today’s digital black and white photography. Personally, I needed very little time to consider this question and I answered quite honestly when I said that a lot of today’s black and white images seem to be missing some of the subtle mid greys that I love so much. It is hard to understand the reason for this and I certainly don’t believe it is the lack of darkroom and film photography because when I did teach darkroom printing, many a student would come out of the darkroom with a print that was as harsh in tones as you could achieve with the chemistry!

We have all heard that black and white photography is reliant on variations of form, line and texture as well as weight, balance and tone. Clearly, without the presence of colour, we are reliant on the photographer who is making a composition to ...

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About Author


Paul Gallagher has been a professional landscape photographer for over 30 years and is also regarded as a Master Printer dedicating his photography to Northern England, the Scottish Highlands and further afield around the world.

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