Cuba #7 – Boy & Bike


Fuji X-E2 – 35mm 1.4 @ f/4

You might recognize this young boy, he is the same boy that was in the triptych posted a few days ago.  After photographing him I wasn’t leaving, he was just too much fun and I wanted to see what else might happen.  As I stepped back to the other side of the street, a young woman rode up on a bicycle and parked it right here! I’m definitely not going anywhere now. I start making images of the bike and who comes out of the door? The boy!  Click,click,click. 

Once again, I’m conflicted about color or B&W.  Unlike the last time I asked where I really did like the color better, this time I could go either way. What say you? B&W version below.


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  1. Stephen McCullough January 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Well first of I I like the way it’s composed, aided by your great timing. There is a lot of life in this photograph. What is the boy looking at? Thinking?

    In this case I react more positively to the colour. It’s just so rich. The detail comes alive, the textures are clearer, and I feel I am there.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      Thanks Stephen. I agree there is a lot of stuff going on in this simple scene.

  2. Mark Stevens January 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    I’m a huge fan of B+W and your version here is tremendous, but the colors are so rich and deep that I prefer the color version. I think that green at the bottom of the door does it for me.


    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      You’ll always be able to tell my gut instinct too as I’ll always post as my lead image the one I’m drawn to the most…. Thanks for your feedback Mark.

    • Stephen McCullough January 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Yes. The green at the bottom of the door just grabbed me too.

      I should add that often I’ll gravitate to BW. There is often more balance, and a more direct emotional hook.

      But yes, it’s the colour one here.

  3. Lea Gallardo January 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    I’m liking this one in B&W.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      thanks for chiming in Lea.

  4. al campoli January 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi John,

    Again I like the color. Brings out the warmth of the shot.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      Seems like Color rules again Al. 🙂

  5. Victoria January 26, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    I’m drawn to both… However, the color one with all the richness of the color tones is slightly more compelling. This boy adds so much to the scene… tried to imagine it without him in it and feel that it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling… right place, right time + perfect timing!

  6. John Franco January 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    I think it depends. Both are excellent, moving images.. As a single fine art print, I think the color version would be a fine addition to any collection. The B&W version, on the other hand, might be better served as part of a collection of images showcasing the history and classic culture of Cuba.
    Just my thoughts,

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      And good thoughts John. Thanks.

  7. Gary Cain January 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Again, I have to vote for the color version. B+W looks flat to me.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      Flat? Not sure I’d agree with Flat but I think I know what you mean. Thanks for stopping by Gary.

  8. janice January 26, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    I actually like the black and white better on this one, John. The softness of the boy’s skin, the roundness of his form, the gentleness of his affect…it’s a nice contrast to the harsh details of his environment and it stands out in the b&w, I’m thinking.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      As Albert said after you, B&W helps you to focus on the shapes. It strips away the distractions of color allowing you to focus on the subject. Thanks for you input.

  9. Albert Bronson January 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Street photography in which people/a person is the subject should almost always be black and white. Color often distracts the viewer from the subject matter. Besides, B&W honors the street photography tradition.

    • john8276 January 26, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

      Key phrase “almost always” for me Albert. I’m one who winces when someone says how something ought to be, especially due to tradition. I’m more of a follow your heart kind of guy. Now, that said, I do love B&W and tend to agree that many “street” scenes with people will be B&W for me, however, I’m not willing to plop myself into a box due to tradition. I hope that makes sense. We totally agree that B&W strips away the distractions of color.

  10. Nancy T January 27, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    I like the B&W and fits the subject and scene very well. I prefer the color, for the colors and also the lady and child inside of the house are lost in the B&W.

    • john8276 January 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks for you comment Nancy.

  11. Milbren Thomas January 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    John, I prefer the color, I’m drawn to the lady and child in the background, which is lost in the B & W.

    • john8276 January 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Hummm interesting Milbren. Always good to hear from you Mil!!

  12. marty golin January 27, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Not that you need another “yea” for the color version, but what caught my eye (& I think is a plus, though some may disagree) is the red seat almost exactly in the center of the composition. Also ignoring the color itself, I agree with the above comments of the people on the inside; it seems to be a significant “story” element lost in the B&W. Though you may have darkened them consciously to emphasize the boy & they’re another story…?

    • john8276 January 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

      I did choose to darken it in the B&W… I guess my take away from this discussion is that I might want to re-think that. Thus, I love the feedback! Thanks Marty.

  13. Rad January 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Hey, John. Great shot for all the reasons noted above! As much as I love B&W in general and this shot in particular, I have to go with the color on this one. The red in the bike seat and the green moss beneath the door are part of what both attract me and hold me in this image. Just fantastic. Way to be patient!

    • john8276 January 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks Radman. Always appreciate your keen eye.

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