Black and white photography - landscape in the desert in California


Black and white pictures are the reduction of the image to the essential. Just light and darkness like day and night – white and black. This enhances the shapes and textures of things and gives them a calm that most color photographs cannot achieve.

Black and White photography – An Esthetic Choice of Clarity

Black and white is not a statement against color but for the supremacy of light over its frequency. It is taking out a few image elements and focusing on others more intently. What I like best about it how clear the shapes come out, a strong the texture of things. It has a philosophic quality that is very direct.

In color photography the control over color is not always possible. Some locations are just chaotic and nervous with too many colors that do not go well with one another. In such cases black and white photography is a liberation. You get the ability to zone out the noise and get to a visual clarity and tranquility with rich, deep blacks and clean, supreme whites.

When I started out in photography as a teenager I had my own darkroom built in the cellar. Black and white negatives were pushed into the enlarger and projected on photographic paper that then traveled through its baths of developer, water, fixer and again water and then it would be dried. All this under the dim red lamp of the darkroom. And what surprise it was when you could first turn on the light and see the images in their full beauty.

Black and white on paper and screen

I was used to see black and white on paper and for many years worked only in color. Until one day I didn’t like the color environment and turned it into black and white. Even on a computer screen it looked formidable. With one decision I had removed what was in the way of the picture. It is a question of choice. If something does not add to the work, remove it. Black and white has been one of my favorite ways to go ever since.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *