Black and White Portraits Photography

The Boy and Penguins

© 2010 Wazari Wazir | Black and White Photography

Colors are good, colors are great but personally I think when it comes to portrait photography where certain mood or emotion is concern, nothing can beat black and white photography. I’ve done two version of editing for this picture, one is colors but the other one is black and white and  I think monochrome speaks louder, express better. I think black and white convey better for this particular picture.

Black and white is classic, black and white is pure, black and white is here to stay for as long as photography is concern. Black and white are very good at eliminating unwanted distraction, sometimes even a dash of colors can take away our full attention towards the main subject, make it a little bit less stronger image. Editing black and white for me is a lot more harder than editing color photograph and I believe editing is an art in itself, a lot of great black and white photography in the past during film era also benefit the most from editing, they edit their picture in darkroom. Great editing will bring out the most from your black and white photography.

People like Ansel Adams which is famous for his black and white landscape photography who invented or introduce black and white zone system spent a lot of his time in his darkroom, dodging and burning in his darkroom, without the skills of editing, his black and white picture will lack depth, will be just like ordinary black and white picture. In order to bring out details in the shadows, in order to bring out details in the sky, the formation of the clouds, editing needs to be done, some part need to be exposed to light more than the other, some part need less exposure than the other.

When it comes to portrait photography, among great photographer that I like and adore is Bob Carlos Clarke which is best known for his powerful, graphic images of beautiful women in black and white and what make it a lot more interesting is that, most of his pictures is printed by the man himself or if I can say “edited” by the man himself. I know that great picture is more than just about great editing but, the way how we presented it does matter.

Even though I don’t print my own picture in the darkroom or printed it with consumer or home printer but I want to have a total control of how I present my picture the way I wanted it to be, from the moment the picture is taken to the moment it can be viewed on the internet.

Photography can be art, photography can also be just a medium of telling a stories where the story is concern like in photojournalism where minimal editing is required but if we take it a little bit further where photography is considered our artistic endeavor or pursuit, then I think the way we present it does matter, the way we edit our picture does matter. It’s up to us to determine whether our picture is only for telling stories or a medium where we wanted to express our artistic vision or expression.

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