Saturday, May 12, 2012

Picture Black and White

I’m taking another Big Picture Class, Picture Black and White. In this world of beautiful color you may wonder why would anyone would want to take out those colors and be limited to shades of gray. I grew up with black and white pictures. I remember the excitement of when we first saw color images taken with my Uncle’s camera. Is there a reason we would want to go back to that?

Yes, there is! Black and white or monochromatic images can be stunning and dramatic. They can reveal hidden details, contrasts, or shapes that you miss when they’re saturated with color. Removing color can help to focus your attention on the intended subject.

Here’s the results of my first four assignments in the study of black and white photography.

I’ve always been attracted to lines in photography. There are all kinds; symmetrical, asymmetrical, vertical, horizontal, a grid, or diagonal. Black and white can make these lines predominate. I was at my daughter’s when I read our first assignment. She has the perfect porch to capture lines. It’s also perfect for just sitting and relaxing!!

Shapes are everywhere! Many times we don’t see them in color photography; we’re distracted by the beauty of color. I love to find things in nature that have heart shapes. My oldest grandson, Jake, and I were on a photo shoot together when we spotted these leaves, the perfect heart shape.

Jake also spotted this moth with it‘s beautiful, symetrical, shapes. This is a good example of when taking out the color draws your attention to the subject of the photo. This moth was almost lost against the color of the bricks and the grey color of the porch. Great eye, Jake, for spotting this!!

Repetition of an element in photography can give us a since of balance or rhythm.  When you look at this photo, your eyes follow the rhythm of the weaving. I did enjoy the rhythm of weaving my first basket!

In color you would see green, old chairs, sitting in a row. In black and white you see the repetition of lines and curves.

Patterns can often go unnoticed in color photography, especially if they’re subtle. Color can draw the attention away from the pattern.

In our class we’re encouraged to use any monochromatic color. I thought using sepia created a vintage look for this vintage beaded purse.

I'm enjoying my journey into black and white and definitely learning a lot! I've never used it much, but, I know in the future I'll be using it more and more!

“I find the creative process with black and white images is so… artistic. It’s like molding clay – you can shape it into a myriad of shapes. Black and White images can be strong, high contrast and powerful – or they can be so soft, gentle and subtle.” – Belle


  1. Wait - you MADE that basket? Or maybe you didn't mean that one when you referred to weaving your first basket. I wove a basket once, but believe me, it didn't look anything like that!

    Anyway, your b&w photos are excellent! Each one illustrates the lesson perfectly. Great job, Cathy!

  2. Cathy,
    These are excellent! I see a nice blend of blacks, whites, and varying shades of gray in each. The processing on that handbag is just perfect.

  3. Cathy - a great lesson on the benefits of ignoring color and going black and white. You have made such a strong case with your emphasis on lines and pattern and texture.


Thanks so much for stopping by!!