The Magic of Black and White Photography

When we want something to be very clear metaphorically, we insist that it should be in black and white. Yet colours make an image vibrant, brilliant and attractive. Colours are charming and mesmerizing. Nature is full of colours; moreover, we live in an age when we can add, change, modify, brighten or suppress colours with expert technology at hand. Should we cry over the days of black and white photographs? Are they wiped off from terrestrial space? What are our reactions when we view some black and white photograph of bygone days? That is the point. Black and white photographs belong to the past, to ancient times.

black and white photography

The magic of black and white

A black and white photograph reminds us of the old past. It makes us feel nostalgic. It awakens dormant emotions in us. It transports us to the old days. It opens up old memories. You see those tiny shaded faces outlined in black and try to guess identities. You think of resemblances and get excited when you identify an old friend or cousin. You almost always realize how stupid you looked when you were small. Not just you but everyone, as though age makes everyone smarter and handsome. Then you compare the old and new looks.

Some faces make you happy, some make you feel sad. The black and white photographs remind you of the homes where you had lived as children. Then begins a series of connected memories, of your old neighbours, where they must be now, what your friends must be doing and so on.

The two primary colours – black and white, have their own charm. They create the clearest images because they have the power to cascade your entire past in your mind’s eye. They serve as portals to the magical world of the past.

Black and white photographs have their own tradition. They remain important as worthy ancestors of coloured photographs. They are the first step in in the history of mankind in discovering the art of capturing a vision permanently into a plain photograph. People, places or objects, the black outlines and grey shades make us fill up the shortcomings of colour. Or eyes add effects that the camera failed to do. And then the photographs appear all the more beautiful.

Crazy photographers still engage themselves in black and white colours. It gives them an opportunity to experiment with shadows and brightness unlike coloured photographs. Light plays an important role in photographs that are devoid of colour. You can emphasize lines and textures in a face in black and white. Black and white colours enable photographers to add special moods and atmosphere to a picture.

Black and white photography can be a fabulous way of photographic expression. It gives a special view on reality by highlighting, textures, lines and shapes. It is still possible to excel at black and white photography in this digital age. But, you have to master everything from the capture of the image to its editing and printing.

Just as newspapers and books will retain a special place in human life in spite of digital medium, black and white photographs will always retain a special place in our life. After all, they reflect truth as nothing else; isn’t truth black and white? And truth is a priceless human value!!