I have been pondering why I like photos with garish colors when my normal preference is for black and white. Why black and white? The obvious answer is that I see it as more dramatic and more interesting. Why? Because color sometimes seems to get in the way. It distracts. I think there are two reasons for this. First, unless we are totally colorblind we see the world in color. To present it without the color tends to cause us to look more closely. Familiar things become less familiar, and thus require more of our attention.
The second reason, however, gets to the core issue for me. My motivation for photographing a scene is usually very simple, I like the way it looks. I have recently realized that what has attracted me to scenes are their abstract elements, primarily line, shape, and form. Pattern and texture also matter to me but they tend to be secondary. I find that black and white lends itself to emphasizing abstract elements in my photographs, making them more interesting to me. I often enhance this by subtly changing values within the image and sometimes adding a hint of texture.
Ironically, it turns out that radically altering colors can give the same results; requiring more of the viewer's attention and emphasizing abstract elements. It is not something I would do with all, or even most of my images, but I will over time develop a collection of very colorful images.
A quick update. Since my last post we decided on the five images for the Library Project and the 20x30 metal prints just arrived. They are BEAUTIFUL! The "winners" are the two in this post and numbers 2-4 in my last post. I can hardly wait to see them in the Library (scheduled for February, 2013).