Why B&W photography?

September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Barcelona (2007) by Robertino Nikolic

A list of reasons could be endless; bringing out the texture of a playful scene, accentuating the contrast in of a portrait to create drama, to focus on patterns or repetitions, the technical process to achieve an image or just creating focus to the story of a scene. These reasons make black and white photography both one of the simplest and sophisticated art forms and why it appeals to so many.

Versatility

Black and white can be used in almost any instance, from weddings to funerals, landscapes to portraiture. It is also flexible enough to be used in a wide range of conditions, from the brightest days to the darkest corners. This versatility makes it a reliable old friend to photographers, allowing them great deal of freedom when capturing images either in a studio environment or on the road.

Distraction of colour

With the element of colour removed, the technical essence of black and white photography is defined simply by the exposure of an image; using the shutter speed, aperture and ISO to successfully capture a wide range of light. Exposure allows the photographer to manipulate a scene to tell a story without the distraction of colour. This allows us to focus on the details of an image or bring significance to a moment.

Candy Cigarette (1989) by Sally Mann

Emotion and realism

Black and white can emphasis powerful emotions or messages. Candy Cigarette by Sally Mann is a great example of an image that evokes a wide range of feelings from viewers and also asks so many questions. This ability to capture realism which can then be read in so many ways makes black and white a unique way of engaging with people.

Using black and white

Even though there are some basic practices one should adhere to, it can be fun to experiment and be playful to find techniques and methods that are comfortable with you and in the digital age, any colour shot can be processed into a black and white gem.

Keep in mind we are not suggesting that black and white photography is superior to colour photography, it is just different. Just like a palette knife or paintbrush, it is tool used by artists to tell a story.

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