Why I Switched to Black and White Photography


Black and white images make us pause to take a closer look.

To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”
 – Andri Cauldwell

While night photography will always be my first love, black and white photography is a genre that sits most comfortably with me. As a child of the sixties, I often rummaged through family old black and white photos taken with my dad’s 1950’s Braun Paxette camera and I was fascinated with the images. Those old images took me into a world of wonder and I would study them for hours. Black and white photography was forgotten once colour came to the masses but some photographers remained loyal. Today, in the world of digital photography, there are many great black and white photographers and it’s making a resurgence.

Black and white photography is seen as the purest form of photography. Humans see the world in colour and to me, it’s a common sight. Once you remove colour from an image, you are able to look at it without the distractions. It makes us pause and take a closer look. We see the subject, textures, patterns and composition. Black and white images can be dramatic and emotive, they tell a story. A black and white portrait is a picture of beauty and in my eyes, these portraits will always retain that classic, timeless element. 

“Colour records the image, but black and white records the feelings that lie beneath the surface.”   
~ Cole Thompson

When I took up photography as a hobby nine years ago, I went crazy and took photos of everything, as you do. I was passionate but soon realised that not all images looked good in colour so there they sat on my computer for years. Recently I listened to a Podcast, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen by Matt PayneIn Episode 178, Discovering Your Vision in Landscape Photography, Matt interviews Cole Thompson, a brilliant black and white photographer who has changed the way I do things. Cole spoke directly to me and revived my passion, for not only photograph, but for black and white photography as well. Listening to Cole was just what I needed to get me motivated again.

Night photography is magical but it is becoming more and more impractical for me as I get older. Black and white photography, well to me that’s a genre that is both versatile and practical. I can be trigger happy without having to separate the genres because black and white photography is a genre that covers whatever you want to cover. It is not limited to say, night photography, landscapes, architecture, portraits, etc. – you can do them all! 

I am currently sifting through my archives as life eases back into a relatively normal life here in Australia. I am excited about going out again to shoot some great black and white photography. However, keep an eye on my night photography because that love affair is not over yet. I look forward to writing blogs again. It feels good to be back.

PODCASTS: Please give Matt Payne’s podcast a go, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen. He has great guests and I am hooked. It’s one of the best (if not the best) photography podcasts around. I recommend Episode 178 with Cole Thompson. Cole talks about developing a personal vision, not following the rules, external validation and its impact and being true to yourself. Also check out Cole Thomspon’s and Matt Payne’s websites. I am a huge Matt Payne fan and listen to his podcasts regularly. I find Matt to be a great interviewer and he asks the right questions, and I love his work! Matt’s podcast is interesting, inspiring and motivating. And in case you haven’t already noticed, I am a HUGE Cole Thompson fan ☺️

VIDEOWhy Black and White by Cole Thompson. Definitely worth watching.

Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook
Website: normamartiriphotography.com.au

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4 thoughts on “Why I Switched to Black and White Photography

    1. Haha you remembered me! Great to hear from you Emilio! I’ve been busy with new grandkids and work plus I lost my passion a bit. Things are settling down now so I’m hoping to get back into it this year. I’m really enjoying black and white photography. Happy New Year to you too! ☺️

      Like

    2. Life always comes first, but also it’s nice finding something to ignite one’s passion (fried bread with sugar does it for me).

      Looking forward to some examples (if you choose to share them).

      Like

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