Everything is always sharper in black and white. I have always believed this to be true. Especially in the world of photography. For years I have filmed in black and white. Travel back to the days when one purchased black and white film rolls…No digital image to review! Oh, the many prints taken from my Nikon EM that were developed to reach the perfect photograph!! It was always worth the processing fees, however. Even when a bit blurred, the many images captured seemed perfect, stunning, if you will, in black and white. They are the images from my past that are, indeed, my favorites. Timeless and classic. There is an elegance to the black and white image…
The first black and white photograph image was produced by the French inventor Nicephore Niepce in 1826. Interestingly, lithography had become a fashionable hobby in France at that time (Lithography, circa 1796, was a method for printing using a limestone or metal plate). Niepce, unskilled in drawing and unable to obtain a proper lithographic stone locally, became determined to find a way to provide images automatically. History is thrilled at his accomplishments, indeed. It was a new world, captured in the black and white medium. In 1936 the arrival of kodachrome changed the world and the art of photography. However, there is truly no replacement for black and white photography. Black and white photography has always thrived in popularity and endures today as being the preferred medium of many professional and amateur photographers. It is truly an art form. Its sharpness and contrast certainly commands attention. It offers so much more than a color photograph in terms of specific photography terms: texture, tonal contrast, shape, form and lighting. Black and white photography is termed as a backdrop of light and dark. It is success with texture, shape and tone. American photographer Andri Cauldwell stated it perfectly: “Photography is an art form like no other. It allows you to instantly capture time, and at the same moment, fade the colors of day into night so that you can print them out again and give them to the world, in the purity of black and white”.
Artistically, it is said that Color depicts reality and that Black and white is the interpretation of reality. Perfectly stated. Ah, the reality we hope to capture with our our own personal interpretation of the subject matter we choose. In black and white.
Framed on our walls? Striking, timeless, classic focal points that draw the eye. Crisp and fresh. Black and white photography brings a sense of history. Our own personal history and interests grouped to create a statement, or isolated to create an instant conversation piece, a purposeful focal point. Our history. I believe that truly is what photographs become in our own personal domains. Not only for us to reflect upon, recalling moments and experiences or loved ones that we treasure, but also conversation elements that add to our own personal knowledge of who we are as well as a broader understanding of us to those that enter our domains. The process of selecting photographs to frame and fill our spaces is actually very telling of who we are as individuals.
So, Consider black and white. Framed.
Life is certainly much more vivid in black and white.
“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul“- Andri Cauldwell, American Photographer