The proportion of solid black in a picture is dependant on the style of the picture and the feelings of the Photographer. Where the Photographer prints his own work of course. English Photograper Peter Henry Emerson (1856 – 1936) said “Don’t allow second rate process-mongers to produce libels of your work”. Only you can decide on your work, not the process-mongers, (I love that phrase). Don’t let the process-mongers water down your ideas. Science came to the aid of art with cameras to produce accurate fine detail. Don’t let your creativity be goverened by rules aimed at producing pictures that describe the obvious fine detail and not the brooding mood and atmosphere. Would you have taken a second glance at this shot if it had been a straight red brick building, I suggest not.
English Photographer John Blakemore has a saying – “Dead black, living dark”. 19th century English Painter and Art Critic John Ruskin said “Think in shadows” – were they right? Does every B&W picture need a solid black somewhere? I have a friend who says that there is not a black in nature so B&W pictures should not have a solid black. I think he is totally missed guided.
Pictures of chimneys have always fasinated me. May be it’s the way they stand aloof to the world. This one is the Tate in London.