If you’ve been following Smashing Magazine for a while, you know that almost all posts from the Monday Inspiration series are pretty colorful and eye-catching. This post is an exception. Compared to colorful designs where catchy colors help the design to stand out, in black-and-white designs the ability to stand out depends only on its ability to communicate rather than on its appealing visual presentation.
Indeed, beautiful black and white photography doesn’t attract with its play of colors. Here close attention to composition, lighting, perspective and the context it is shot in are important. Hence, before considering the photos presented below please prepare some patience and time. This post presents some truly excellent examples of beautiful black-and-white photography. [Content Care Oct/17/2016]
Notice: this post isn’t supposed to showcase the best black-and-white-photos of world’s best photographers; please see it as a modest attempt to inspire designers for experimenting with black and white instead of using a variety of vibrant colors all the time. Hopefully, everybody will find something interesting and unusual for herself or himself.
Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link
- (Really) Stunning Pictures and Photos1
- 35 Fantastic HDR Pictures2
- 35 Brilliant Examples of Rain Photography3
- Breaking Out Of The Box: Design Inspiration4
All photos belong to the respective owners.
Beautiful Black-And-White-Photography Link
In her legendary photos Toni Frissell impresses with a strong trend toward surrealism or realism. The photo presented below, although in black and white, is both extremely sharp and clear. To achieve such level of clarity in black and white is extremely hard.
Alin Ciortea Link
Alin Ciortea presents examples of modern street photography. In black and white, of course.
Unfortunately, the photographer is unknown. The photo seems to be taken at exact the right moment from exactly the right angle with a perfect lighting. Black and white can be powerful as well.
This photo, titled Candy Cigarette, not just displays something, it tells a story. It is both emotional and beautiful. This is what the originality of black-and-white-photography is all about.
Larry Towell Link
This shot was taken in El Salvador. Child with star mask during “Day Of The Dead”. Other child in background rolls tire for repair in garage where he works at an adult’s job. The photo is full of tiredness and stubbornness. Simple motif conveying strong emotions.
Aneta Kowalczyk Link
Aneta Kowalczyk makes portrait photography. Some of her photos are provoking, some are strange and some are extremely beautiful. The example below displays the beautiful side of black and white photography.
Gary Winogrand Link
Taking a shot just at the right moment.
Larry Louie Link
Woman Of Tibet. Realism at its best. Awarded with International Photography Awards in 2007.
Tour Eiffel: extraordinary contrast and perspective. Strong, clean and very precise shot.
One of the most famous contemporary black and white photographers. Classic!
Maurizio Polese Link
Polese’s works pay close attention to small, tiny details. The tones are perfects and compositions are beautiful which is why the photos are presented in this post. Notice the sharp contrast and the lighting at the first image below and the sharp pathway leading to the light in the second one.
Ten extraordinary black and white photographs sent to the Wired.com editorial by its readers.
Michele Clement Link
Artistic yet beautiful and extremely powerful shot. Michele Clement is the winner of Black & White Spider Awards 2007 in category “Outstanding Achievement”.
This photo has been taken in South Crillon Glacier, Washburn.
Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami on the hills surrounding the capital, where his film “Taste of Cherry”, which was co-awarded the Golden Palm in Cannes 1997, was shot.
Patrick Figaj Link
Jack Radcliffe Link
Alison’s life in black and white photos. The significance of these pictures emerges in retrospect. “When my daughter Alison was born, in the tradition of a new parent, I began to photograph her, initially in a separate and private body of work. However, in the process of documenting Alison’s growth, I developed a passionate interest in human relationships and capturing intimate moments in the lives of family and friends.”
Arndt Laude Link
Alignment. Sometiems all it takes is to be at the right place in the right moment and take a shot under the right angle. That’s what happened here.
Staircase is an example of Gibson’s high-contrast, minimalist black and white compositions have influenced a generation of photographers. By isolating the essential elements of a scene, his pictures show a style that is unique and immediately recognizable. [via]
Erwitt, an advertising and journalistic photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings — the master of the “indecisive moment”.
Roy Mckeown Link
Adam Hinton Link
Rodney Smith Link
Rodney Smith has his own understanding of professional black-and-white-photography. Unusual, abstract and surrealistic works.
Drole Deciel Link
Shazeen Samad Link
Simple yet excellent composition. This photo manages not just to show something, but to capture a moment of life in all its beauty and vividness.
Berk-plage – France. What a sky! A really strange squadron: octopus, teddy bear and skates.
Pedro Meyer Link
Pedro Meyer shows the life of people across the globe. This photo was taken in Rio De Janeiro.
Mitch Dobrowner is famous due to his Earth photos.
Robertino Nikolic Link
lighting plays with geometry. Or geometry plays with lighting? The winner of the Black & White Spider Awards 2007.
Capturing the right moment at the right point of time.
Perfect timing, perfect lighting. A dreamy shot.
That’s a quite unusual perspective for a photograph.
Santosh Korthiwada Link
“No peeping please!” Very powerful, emotional and somehow sad photo.
Rui Palha photographs simple people in simple situations. Result: extraordinary photos of simple things surrounding our life.
Two Tree Hill. The composition looks very surreal, yet powerful and beautiful.
Ventana XIV. Geometric minimalism at its best.
Maurizio Polese Link
Escape. Unusual angle, unusual perspective.
Jana Stolzer Link
Vega Omer Link
Struggling to survive.
Dog snout. Sometimes the moments from our life are the most valuable moments we should enjoy and keep in mind.
Last Click Link
I heart you. Do you see what we see?
Sources and Resources Link
- Tribute to Masters of Photography53
- B/W Photo Gallery54
- 1000 B&W Flickr Pool55
- Decisive Moments: Classics in B&W56
- The Blanco y Negro – Black and White Flickr Pool57
- Noir & Blanc58
- Blue and White Excellence Moments59
- The Art of Black and White (Hard Cover)60
- Ten Truly Inspiring Photographers61
- Key Ingredients to B/W Photography62
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- 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/03/10/35-fantastic-hdr-pictures/
- 3 /2008/09/35-brilliant-examples-of-rain-photography/
- 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/12/breaking-out-of-the-box-design-inspiration-december-2016/
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