Finding Myself in B&W Photography

I’ve always loved black and white photography. Not really because it makes things “moody” (a color photo can be “moody” if done the right way), but because of everything it reveals: patterns, textures, blemishes, scars. It’s like looking at something in its raw state.

A few months after I turned to freelensing and never looked back, I switched a few of my photos to B&W and realized there was a whole new world beneath the surface of all that color. Like a parallel universe. After that, most of my photos became B&W, and then I started to shoot for the sole purpose of taking B&W, and began looking specifically for textures and shapes and patterns.

Check out my B&W nature photos

Check out my B&W Tree photos

But somewhere around six months ago, it got into my head that I should be doing things in color. I practiced a lot with color editing in Lightroom, and I guess I did alright, but I never felt satisfied with my work. To me, color covers up those raw parts that only B&W can reveal.

B&W allowed me to bring out the texture and creases of my husband’s working hands

Don’t get me wrong. Many photographers create beautiful works with color that are vibrant and/or deeply moving. And there is a time and a place for color photography. Like during the golden hour, or at a carnival, or when your kid’s face is painted like a cheetah but she’s dressed like a bumblebee…

But I shoot primarily for B&W and for so long I was self-conscious about it. Shouldn’t all photographers create magical works in both color and black and white?

Read a few articles in Click magazine a few days ago about black and white. And I realized it’s okay if I don’t want to live in the land of color photography. It’s okay if I want to do things in B&W.

It’s okay to block out the outside voices and just be myself.

Other than nature, my favorite subject is my daughter. She’s a natural in front of the camera, and doesn’t mind being herself. I love catching those lunch crumbs on her cheeks and the expression we like to call “stinkerface.” I rarely tell her to pose–she’s too ornery to pose, anyway–and instead just let her explore the world around her. For me, black and white intensifies these moments.

All photos © Lina Forrester

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4 thoughts on “Finding Myself in B&W Photography

    • Thanks 🙂 I agree. Sometimes color takes away from the photo. I think we often catch ourselves seeing color and not the subject itself. Monochrome takes away that distraction. However, like I said, there is a time and place when color is important. Sometimes it plays a major role. A bright carnival or a deep blue macaw or a field of sunflowers beneath a blue sky. Those images might not be as powerful without color. I could talk about this all day! 😀

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