Lens-Artists Challenge #156 – Black & White

portrait, sadness, B&W

“Black and white photography does more to evoke an emotion and freeze a moment in time than any other medium”

Bob Snell

This week our guest host, Anne Sandler, has invited us to share images in Black and White. Among other things, I find B&W particularly well-suited to portraying emotions in portrait photography. Dramatic lighting is much more visible and provides a way for the photographer to focus the viewer’s attention exactly as he or she chooses. The image above was a candid capture of an exhausted ship’s worker as she stole a rare moment of peace and quiet. In Black & White her exhaustion comes shining through.

Simply Twigs

“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black & white is a delight for the soul.”

Andri Cauldwell

For many, B&W is the purist’s way of looking at the world. While it is not something I use frequently, I find it can deliver opportunities for taking a more artistic approach which strips the subject of any distractions and allows its beauty to come through in its simplicity.

Magnolia in Bloom

“The world may be color, but Black & White transcends it.”

Abbas Attar

There are times when nothing can portray the purity of Mother Nature’s work better than the use of Black & White. Here in the south we are blessed with weeks of glorious magnolias everywhere we look. They draw the eye to their beauty and the nose to their sweet bouquet. For me, B&W strips them down to their essence and presents them in a way that allows their details to draw the viewer into the image.

forest, trees, art, panning
Forest Primeval

“Black and White are the colours of photography.”

Robert Frank

I captured the scene above in camera using a vertical pan. While I liked the image in color, to me the conversion to Black & White took it to a more artistic place. The trees took on a rather ominous feel – conjuring thoughts of frightening creatures lurking beyond. Sometimes if we strip an image of its color we allow the viewer to form their own impressions of a scene rather than dictate their reactions.

A Poem Lovely as a Tree

“Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”

Elliott Erwitt

If we compare the tree above to the one that immediately precedes it, we see that the use of B&W allows the photographer to better portray a sense of emotion in a scene. We move from dark and ominous to light and fanciful simply by the use of the many elements of shading and light available in Black & White. At least, that’s my impression….what’s yours?!

Thanks to Anne for giving us an opportunity to explore our world in Black & White – we look forward to seeing your interpretations. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists Tag and to link them to Anne’s original post here. We also thank you for your responses to John’s “On the Water” challenge last week; a fun thought for those of us enjoying some lazy summer days. Finally, please join us next week when Rusha leads us with her “Getting Away” challenge. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.


100 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #156 – Black & White

  1. Forest Primeval caught my eye. It’s so digital! The final poet – tree is gorgeous, but so is the magnolia blossom and the sad woman emoting at the table. Every photo is lovely, Tina.

  2. Tina I just love these shots in B&W…what great examples of seeing one’s TRUE self….raw n real!!!

  3. Precious black & whites, Tina. It works so well in every image, an eyeopener! In a way, black and white images appear to be more timeless than colour images. The absence of colour makes it more difficult to put an exact date on a work. The tones in your images range all the way from the blackest black to the whitest white with lots of varying grey tones in between, a true joy for us to view. Love the inspiring quotes!

    • Many thanks Hanne, I agree with your thoughts about B&W making an image more timeless. It’s an interesting thought when we consider how an image might persevere.

  4. Wonderful response to the challenge, Tina. I think that in most cases, portrait photography works better in b/w and you have captured your subject splendidly in that first shot of the ship worker. All are very creative images.

  5. striking and informative-excellence in black and white surpassing all colors. Hope all is well Dear Tina..Stay safe Stay Happy.May peace be with you aameen.

  6. Wow, you have some great examples of how fantastic B&W shots can be! I love Tristesse, the twigs and the willow tree in particular, but all are excellent 🙂

  7. Oh, that magnolia blossom. Makes my heart sing. They are so elegant anyway, but yours is open for viewing and quite dramatic in black and white. As always, you’ve not only met the challenge, you’ve exceeded it!

  8. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-156-Black-White – WoollyMuses

  9. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #156 – Black & White – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

  10. Black and white can be so much more emotional, as you have shown in your examples. I especially love the magnolia. I cannot believe it took me this long to learn that flowers in monochrome have their own special beauty.

  11. Top! I also have some magnolia blossoms in black and white. I like it especially when the blossoms are backlit. For me, the minimalistic twigs are outstanding. 👍

  12. Tina, I knew none of this about black and white photography until reading your explanation. Your photos perfectly convey the truth in that explanation. Perhaps I’ve known it some intuitive sort of way or maybe I just know what I like. And I like, really love, your photos, Tina. They invite you to feel. The portrait is pure emotion. Wonderful.

  13. I try to learn from your pictures and explanations and marvel that you can see the possibilities in a scene , but still black and white eludes me, unless it is that time of day naturally. I have tried before with sone success, but only with great effort

  14. Tina I agree with you on the top photo, it makes me feel emotional about her exhaustion! The magnolia, that’s my other favorite, it is beautiful!! It kind of looks like a painting. 🖤🤍

  15. The simply twigs had a great minimal vibe
    And enjoyed the magnolia – we had them here too (VA) and I like how you mentioned their aroma too.

  16. The worker is a haunting photo. And the magnolia is so beautiful. I do not do much in black and white either but your photos are great examples of how effective it can be.

  17. The first image…the contrast is amazing. The starkness of the B&W Plus the affect of the subject evokes an emotional response. The magnolia is beautiful.

  18. hi tina, i agree with Bob Snell’s opinion, wonderful photos that you have chosen for the challenge theme, I particularly like the 1st picture.
    many greetings robert

  19. I think you’ve outdone yourself, Tina. These are all extraordinary proving that black and white images evoke a range of unexpected emotions. The portrait is stunning and beautifully captured. The abstract tree (2nd image) is exactly the idea I’m wanting for a mural wall in my living room. Excellent, Tina!

  20. The photo of the exhausted worker really was so expressive…black and white, for me, brings things into a more thoughtful focus, maybe a bit depressing, I think.

  21. Tina, that first photo is so poignant but I love what you did with the second shot and the forest. Yes, I like that last one a lot, too, but I really love that second one. (A few minutes later.) As I look over them all again, that last one is grabbing me more and more. 🙂


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