Why do I seem to prefer monochrome over colour photographs.
Light enters the eye through the cornea goes through a lens and hits the retina. The retina has many cells on its surface made up of two types, cones and rods.
Cones see best in bright lights and register colour. They respond to the different colours 63% respond to Red, About 33% see Green light and only 2% see the strongest Blues. The Retina in a human has 6-7 Million of these cells on its surface. They are concentrated on a very small area of its surface. Consider an eagles eye which has 1 million cones per mm compared to 200,000 per mm in humans. This allows the eagle to have sight three times more powerful than ours. The Eagle can see a Rabbit from 3km away. This shows the effect the numbers of cones has on our sight. As they are more sensitive they allow detail to be sharp.
Rods which number over 100 million are used to see monochrome in low light. Rods allow us to see light and shade. So they help us register tones in photos.
When I look at Monochrome photos I seem to see more detail, I tend to linger more on a monochrome photo over a colour one. Could this be because of the Ratio of Rods to Cones allowing me to see tones in detail making my brain work harder so hold interest longer.
Alternatively we tend to look at photos in a room with low light, we don’t look at them in brightly lit galleries. So the rods will be prevalent, could this mean that has the rod is good for low light I appreciate the light in monochrome. Plus the loss of detail makes my eye look deeper into the tones to find detail.
This gets me thinking about where we will look at photos will effect how we appreciate them.
When I went to see Paul Strands monochrome photos in the Victoria and Albert Museum they were in a room with low light. On Oxford Street the photos are backlit and the colour jumps out at you.
This research has made me realize how light in the room can influence how see the pictures presented.
(1). Science, L. (2010). How Do We See Color?. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/32559-why-do-we-see-in-color.html [Accessed 8 Jun. 2017].