Day 230~366

Are Black & White colours?

Are black and white colours when generated as light?

1. Black is the absence of colour (and is therefore not a colour)

When there is no light, everything is black. Test this out by going into a photographic dark room. There are no photons of light. In other words, there are no photons of colours.

2. White is the blending of all colours and is a colour.

Light appears colourless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colours of the spectrum. A rainbow is proof. You can’t see the colours of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow. You can also use a prism to demonstrate this.

Fact: The sum of all the colours of light add up to white. This is additive colour theory.

Are black and white colours when they exist as pigments or as molecular colouring agents?

1. Black is a colour. (Chemists will confirm this!)
Here’s a simple way to show how black is made: Combine all three primary colors (red yellow and blue) using a liquid paint or you even food coloring. You won’t get a jet black, but the point will be clear. The history of black pigments includes charcoal, iron metals, and other chemicals as the source of black paints.

2. White is not a colour.
… but …. in some cases you could say that white is a colour..

The grey area:
Technically, pure white is the absence of colour. In other words, you can’t mix colours to create white. Therefore, white is the absence of colour in the strictest sense of the definition.

However, when you examine the pigment chemistry of white, ground-up substances (such as chalk and bone) or chemicals (such as titanium and zinc) are used to create the many nuances of white in paint, chalk, crayons etc. It’s worth noting that white paper is made by bleaching tree bark (paper pulp). Therefore, you could say that white is a colour in the context of pigment chemistry.

So there you have it, they are and they are not.


14 thoughts on “Day 230~366

  1. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s how you work with black and white for instance as a photographer that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course a black and white photo is regarded as a photo without colours. In this photo you use black and white in an excellent way in a true colour photo. Makes me feel like in Venice during carnival. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In photography it is easier to include black than it is to include white. We don’t understand White light (over-exposure) because we don’t experience white light without detail, but we do experience Black (under exposure).
    For those of us that studied art, black is a combination of colours. I am glad you included that in your definitions fragg….And by the way that is an excellent picture you made for an example.
    And as a photographer I think it really matters what one calls a colour and how one uses a colour.


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