About The Author

Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. When he is not writing or speaking at a conference, he’s most probably running … More about Vitaly Friedman

Beautiful Black and White Photography

      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.

      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.

      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:

      All photos belong to the respective owners.

      Beautiful Black-And-White-Photography

      Toni Frissell

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Alin Ciortea

      Alin Ciortea presents examples of modern street photography. In black and white, of course.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Birds

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Sally Mann

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Larry Towell

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Aneta Kowalczyk

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Gary Winogrand

      Taking a shot just at the right moment.

      Black and White Photography

      Larry Louie

      Woman Of Tibet. Realism at its best. Awarded with International Photography Awards in 2007.

      Black and White Photography

      Gabriele Caretti

      Tour Eiffel: extraordinary contrast and perspective. Strong, clean and very precise shot.

      Black and White Photography

      Ghost Town Charm

      Excellent lighting.

      Black and White Photography

      Ansel Adams

      One of the most famous contemporary black and white photographers. Classic!

      Black and White Photography

      Maurizio Polese

      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.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Ten extraordinary black and white photographs sent to the Wired.com editorial by its readers.

       

      Black and White Photography

       

      Black and White Photography

       

      Black and White Photography

      Michele Clement

      Artistic yet beautiful and extremely powerful shot. Michele Clement is the winner of Black & White Spider Awards 2007 in category “Outstanding Achievement”.

      Black and White Photography

      Snyder Alison

      This photo has been taken in South Crillon Glacier, Washburn.

      Black and White Photography

      Abbas

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Patrick Figaj

      Ceremony.

      Black and White Photography

      Jack Radcliffe

      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.”

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Arndt Laude

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Ralph Gibson

      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]

      Black and White Photography

      Elliott Erwitt

      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”.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Roy Mckeown

      Snowy Sheep.

      Black and White Photography

      Adam Hinton

      Black and White Photography

      Van Shnooken Raggen

      Two Warehouses.

      Black and White Photography

      Rodney Smith

      Rodney Smith has his own understanding of professional black-and-white-photography. Unusual, abstract and surrealistic works.

      Black and White Photography

      Drole Deciel

      Smiley.

      Black and White Photography

      Shazeen Samad

      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.

      Black and White Photography

      Scott Bush

      Berk-plage - France. What a sky! A really strange squadron: octopus, teddy bear and skates.

      Black and White Photography

      Pedro Meyer

      Pedro Meyer shows the life of people across the globe. This photo was taken in Rio De Janeiro.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Mitch Dobrowner

      Mitch Dobrowner is famous due to his Earth photos.

       

      Black and White Photography

       

      Black and White Photography

       

      Black and White Photography

       

      Black and White Photography

      Robertino Nikolic

      lighting plays with geometry. Or geometry plays with lighting? The winner of the Black & White Spider Awards 2007.

      Black and White Photography

      Unknown

      Capturing the right moment at the right point of time.

      Black and White Photography

      Bert (Quasebart)

      Perfect timing, perfect lighting. A dreamy shot.

      Black and White Photography

      Hughes Leglise-Bataille

      That’s a quite unusual perspective for a photograph.

      Black and White Photography

      Santosh Korthiwada

      “No peeping please!” Very powerful, emotional and somehow sad photo.

      Black and White Photography

      Rui Palha

      Rui Palha photographs simple people in simple situations. Result: extraordinary photos of simple things surrounding our life.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Watanabe

      Straws.

      Black and White Photography

      Lauren

      Two Tree Hill. The composition looks very surreal, yet powerful and beautiful.

      Black and White Photography

      G. Diaz Deleon

      Ventana XIV. Geometric minimalism at its best.

      Black and White Photography

      Maurizio Polese

      Escape. Unusual angle, unusual perspective.

      Black and White Photography

      Jana Stolzer

      Nameless.

      Black and White Photography

      Vega Omer

      Struggling to survive.

      Black and White Photography

      Ezra Caldwell

      Dog snout. Sometimes the moments from our life are the most valuable moments we should enjoy and keep in mind.

      Black and White Photography

      Last Click

      Crossing Lines

      Black and White Photography

      Classics in Lego

      An illustrative summary of iconic pictures with their pairs of Balakov’s Lego figure pictures which are reconstructing famous moments in the history of mankind.

      Black and White Photography
      Black and White Photography

      Mark Daniel Owen

      I heart you. Do you see what we see?

      Black and White Photography

      Sources and Resources