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Seeing the world in black and white

Posted on Oct 19, 2017 by

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There is a general agreement on the fact that black and white photography is artistic photography.

If you look for “fine art” photos on Google, you’ll discover that most of them are black and white. For a while, I kept asking myself why is it like this. Why do people use a monochrome filter whenever they want to pretend they know about photography? I considered this type of photography to be more of a pretentious whim. A tool used by wannabe artists.

But then, one day, I understood: many people prefer black and white because it can tell a story better than coloured photography could.

Stripped off of all its colours,  the picture doesn’t distract your eye with hues any longer. The image is simpler, all the useless elements were removed.

You see the essential, you are able to focus more on what the feeling is and what the picture is trying to tell. Maybe, in the process of trying to make sense of something that doesn’t look like our usual surroundings, the brain even invents new meanings for what it sees. You see a smile better when you’re not focusing on the colour of the lips, you read somebody’s look easier when you can only guess the colour of the eyes. Also, it reminds us of all the great photographers of the past, great art that exists only in black and white because that was the only option back then. It’s easier to compare to them if you talk the same “language”.

The Lighthouse - Foz do Douro, Portugal

I remember the moment I’ve seen some of the iconic photographs colorized: suddenly they looked so real, all those people, those moments. It was like the past was coming back to life! So I understood that we also like black and white pictures for the slightly unrealistic image of the world that they show. For the distance they create between us and the subjects.

Or maybe it’s just because black and white is easier.

This article inaugurates a new category on the blog, because I’m planning to experiment more with monochrome photography. I hope you’ll enjoy it!


  1. You got that right ! Beautiful photos!


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