Colour in Street Photography: the dilemma

Landscape and product photographers like me are fascinated by street photography: it sucks us in, we are drawn to it,  yet shy of getting in close.  It seems strange to have no horizons, no limits and to go back to the old style zone focus method we used when shooting film.  Then there is the dilemma, should I process my shots in black and white or colour?  There is an often cited theory that colour distracts from the story. Hence, I suppose we see so many street shots on Instagram, Tumblr,and Twitter in black and white, contrasty, filmic, old style  and full of depth.  Yet every now and then I come across someone I admire in the Photography world posting wonderful colour street images and these seem to me to be equally valuable, to have a vibrance and quality that cannot always be conveyed in B and W. And, they seem to tell a story equally well.  So here are some street shots using both formats. Which is best? As usual I will leave this up to the viewer to decide.

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Venice, last light: A little lens flare, Fuji XE2 XF 35mm 1.4

 

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Evening sunlight, Venice. Fuji XE2 with XF35mm 1.4

I have to admit the contrast in the black and white image with the wall, leading away into the distance is my favourite here.!

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This gentleman just looked up as I shot him, the good old Fuji X100 did the trick even though it was gloomy in the bar.

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French Gentleman: Fuji X100

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Fuji X100 and that special filmic quality

I still love how the original 12mp sensor in the fuji X100 renders images.  It seems to me these jpgs don’t have that digital fingerprint which some viewers find distracting. The difference is quite subtle but side by side with the Fuji XE2 there is,  I reckon,  a softer more filmic look. That is not to say that I don’t love the XE2 especially now with the firmware upgrade which has brought this camera up to a pocket rocket beauty.  I hardly remember though ever getting duff shots with the X100, I know that sounds daft! but even quick snaps, cropped like crazy have that dreamy analogue look.  Here is one from Italy shot into shade in bright sunlight..

 

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