My love for black and white photography is strongly rooted in my love for street photography, which is what lead me to begin using the 35 mm lens a few years ago. Since the days of analogue (film) photography, street photographers have presented their work in black and white and some of the greatest and most iconic images ever taken have been shot in black and white.
Here are just a few reasons why I personally love working in monochrome:
- There’s a common expression of ‘ give it to me in black and white’ and I believe that goes straight to the point. What you get is the pure essence of what the artist’s intent was. It’s not disguised by colours, it’s direct.
- The beauty of black and white photography is that it requires photographers to re-think how they view a scene, it teaches one to consider their composition. Instead of relying on colour in an image you are moved to making sure your composition/subject is what makes your image interesting to the viewer.
- Simplify: a busy scene can be simplified by changing your image to black and white. I often find that within a busy scene I am able to find a strong black and white image, which I wouldn’t have necessarily achieved in colour.
- Shape: It teaches you to use interesting shape, lines or textures within your images.
When it comes to taking these tips and applying them to wildlife photography remember that it is all about seeing tones, light and shadows within your image. It is a beautiful way to capture the natural world uniquely. Give it a go!
A behind-the-scenes look at people captured in black and white is awe-inspiring:
Under enchanting treetops.
A Stitch in Time
Mphume learns new techniques.
Afternoon light illuminates as Emma prepares lanterns for an evening function.
Attention to Detail
Pioneer butler Cavin makes sure his wine glasses sparkle.
Children enjoy the Mshongolo during practice for their upcoming performances.
Written and Photographed by: Caitlin Fay Smith.
What aspect of black and white photography do you enjoy the most?