It’s black and white, but will it be read all over?

Photo © Bob Krist

For the last six or seven years, I’ve done a large calendar of images from around the world. We use them as promotional mailings for me, and as gifts for donors to the Jonathan Krist Foundation .  I usually look for bright, saturated iconic images from my travels, and my printer does an excellent job with reproducing those colors on thick glossy paper. It’s a fairly expensive promotion piece, but it goes over big.

This year, I’m thinking of doing something different.  A while ago, I got an old D70 body converted for black and white infrared by the folks at Lifepixel and I’ve had a blast using it in a variety of locations all over the world. It’s gotten to the point where I have a decent collection of black and white travel images, like the one of the Easter Island moai above.

The question I’m asking myself (and I have to decide soon because time, as well as a calendar deadline, waits for no man) is “would these images work in a calendar?” I’m waiting for one thing to help me make up my mind.

What I’m waiting for is a press proof from my printer in Korea. He’s not sure he can handle the rich tones of the IR files, and if you can’t get rich monochromatic tones out of these, then it’s hardly worth it. But even with the rich tones and good reproduction, will folks warm up to a black and white calendar?

I’m not sure, but I’m withholding judgement till I see the proofs, and then, if they look good, I’ll have to make (if you’ll pardon the expression) a snap decision to make my printing and shipping deadlines!  I’ll keep you posted and if you’ve got any thoughts on whether black and white works for a calendar, by all means weigh in!

Photo © Bob Krist

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Bob,

    I’m pretty sure B&W calendars are seen at the big book stores and even in Hallmark stores fairly often. And if they are on the shelves regularly that must mean they sell, right? There’s definitely an audience.

    Of course, I’m also of the mind that a good photo is a good photo is a good photo. So a B&W calendar would absolutely work. (Especially if the two shots above are representative of the entire set!)

    Hope your printer can give you the proofs you desire.


    1. Hi Michael: Thanks for the encouraging words. I got to some interesting places with that camera so I think I’d have the requisite 13 views if the printer’s proofs look decent. I’ll keep you posted. cheers, Bob

  2. I too think there’s a market for B&W. I’m not convinced that it would be as big as a nice color calendar as people are drawn to color, and have to stop and appreciate B&W. So, if a B&W calendar is lost amongst a sea of color calendars, it might not do as well. (Although there could be the argument that you’d spot the B&W in a sea of color as well … 🙂 ).

    If I was buying something for my boring cube walls, I’d probably pick color just to liven things up though. I do like the shots above though!

    Then again, if you had a photo of a cute kitten drinking out of fish bowl, that might even sell more!

    1. Aaron: Well, the beauty part about this is that we don’t sell it! We give it away as a promotional piece for my clients and as a gift for Foundation donors…so I don’t have to worry about sales, but I am concerned that it would have a wide enough appeal…you’ve got me thinking about those kittens….

  3. Hi Bob,
    The calendar hanging on my wall is by Laurence Parent. All big nature photos (Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc.), and all in B&W. Looks great. There’s something about B&W that speaks to me in a way that color can’t, but maybe that’s just me. Love the blog btw.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Greg…it’s good to hear. cheers, Bob

  4. Bob,

    Your B&W photos are very, very nice.

    As you say, I think the key is how well the printer can reproduce them. From the B&W calendar and books that I’ve seen, this must be more difficult than color. Perhaps due to the number of B&W and grey inks available, etc.

    Would a calendar with well done B&W images work for me? Absolutely!


    1. Thanks Ed…it’s looking like the proofs will be the deciding factor.

  5. Hi Bob
    People dig color !! Especially on their walls but photography like yours looks great in BW as well. Also since you plan on giving them out as promos, they should do the trick.

    PS I’d say skip the kittens and go puppies !!

    1. Arun:Hmmmn, I wonder how infrared B&W treats puppy fur?!

  6. Bob, Every year in early fall you can go to any mall in the USA and find the calender kiosk. There is always a
    B&W one with Adams work, year after year. Yours can work
    also. Your landscape work reminds me of Ansels and he was and still is the Black&white king, Go for it!

  7. I think B&W is great – and you’re work shown here and what I assume the others look like is great – so I’d go for it – heck if everyone who’s supporting this B&W idea buys the calendar from you it will be worth it- ha ha. It’s hard to guess the market draw- isn’t it? But I do think it would be different and classy.

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