Black and white photographs forever after.
I have recently been thinking about my fascination of black and white photographs. Sometimes I would look at a photograph and immediately feel it should be in black and white rather than colour. I can then almost hear my dad’s voice saying that photographs in colour look so much more beautiful than in black and white.
Old family photographs
I was wondering if this love for black and white might have been influenced by the fact that I am a 1960’s child and that the first photographs of us as children were in black and white. My mum had a photographer come to our house and then we had photo sessions as a family. Somehow, I remember these photo sessions and when I look at the photographs, I can remember little moments of the atmosphere in which it was taken.
Apart from these photographs of us as children, I also have photographs of my dad and his family from before and during WWII in Dresden, Germany.
There is a sort of simplicity for me about these old photographs. It’s almost as if you can read the facial expressions clearly. There are no distractions of colour, but it’s the faces and the eyes you see.
Maybe it’s this mysteriousness that I like about the black and whites. It’s almost as if you have to make up your own mind about what you see. The photo doesn’t tell the story but the viewer get’s the chance to make the story.
The fact that we can see shadow and light more clearly in black and white photos, means that you can focus on things better. For me contrast is something very interesting, whether in food tastes, colour, texture or shape. In this case, it’s the black of the shadow and the white of light. This leads us to focus on specific parts of the photograph and the focus will be different for each viewer.
Black and white photos have a very classic feel. It is the simplicity of it that makes it timeless. It’s almost as if the background, the fashion, the hairstyles become less important and the focus is so much more on the person. Maybe it’s also the association with days gone by, a previous era. Even now when I take a photograph in black and white it has a sudden distant effect, as if I transported it back to a previous time.
Romantic black and white
Winter makes for great black and whites. It reflects the mood so well. A quietness, accentuated of course the wonderful bareness of the trees. On a cloudy day you find that the sky is a great simple backdrop and the way people move are so much different than in the summer and spring. There is a kind of closeness between couples in the winter, that I find magical. It then that I want it to be in black and white because it reminds me of the old black and white films, the romantic films with the happy endings.