Berk-plage – France. What a sky! A really strange squadron: octopus, teddy bear and skates.
Dog snout. Sometimes the moments from our life are the most valuable moments we should enjoy and keep in mind.
If you’ve been following Smashing Magazine for a while, you know that almost all posts from the Monday Inspiration series are pretty colorful and eye-catching. This post is an exception. Compared to colorful designs where catchy colors help the design to stand out, in black-and-white designs the ability to stand out depends only on its ability to communicate rather than on its appealing visual presentation.
© Henri Cartier BressonTop 10 photographers who influenced photography to become what it is today (and any serious photographer should know)
We will conclude this article in the part two of this series. See the Continuation of Black and White Photograpers here
Unfortunately, she suffered from depressive episodes for most of her adult life and finally took her own life during one of these in 1971. As sometimes happens, her death inspired a great interest in her pictures and the following year saw her photographs on display at the Venice Biennale (the first American to do so), while millions saw her work at travelling exhibitions over the next few years, and then more recently during the 2000’s.
I’ve compiled a list of famous photographers who have had a decisive influence on photography as an art form as we know it today. I’ve categorized the photographers in several genres that are considered fine art genres.
If you’re a serious photographer and don’t know the photographers or their work yet, then you really should start getting to know them!
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“No peeping please!” Very powerful, emotional and somehow sad photo.
Quote: “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships”
Simple yet excellent composition. This photo manages not just to show something, but to capture a moment of life in all its beauty and vividness.
Environmental portrait photographer. Arnold Newman took the art of portraiture to another level by trying to include the natural habitat of his subjects in his photographs. Newman did that in a way that also gives an indication of the profession and passions of his subjects. Many times he framed his subjects, very often other famous artists like painters, musicians and architects, in such a way that they became part of their own artistic creations. Newman kept records of his photography sessions in so called ‘sitting books’ in which he would record details of that session. The two pages below depict the sessions with composer Igor Stravinsky for probably his most famous environmental portrait photograph.
One of the most famous contemporary black and white photographers. Classic!
Unfortunately, the photographer is unknown. The photo seems to be taken at exact the right moment from exactly the right angle with a perfect lighting. Black and white can be powerful as well.
Further Reading on SmashingMag: (Really) Stunning Pictures and Photos 35 Fantastic HDR Pictures 35 Brilliant Examples of Rain Photography Breaking Out Of The Box: Design Inspiration
Quote: “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.”
Famous for his pictures of combat, Jewish Robert Capa was born in Budapest, Hungary as ‘Friedmann Endre Ernö’ but re-invented himself as a famous American photographer called Robert Capa in 1934 when the Nazis started making life very difficult for Jews. He documented the course of five separate wars with his camera and specialised in capturing real life shots of people at the moment of crisis rather than studies. He died at the age of forty during the first Indochina war when he accidentally set off a landmine. His most famous work is a photo essay called ‘Capturing the Truth’.
Quote: “Photography is a medium of formidable contradictions. It is both ridiculously easy and almost impossibly difficult. It is easy because its technical rudiments can readily be mastered by anyone with a few simple instructions. It is difficult because, while the artist working in any other medium begins with a blank surface and gradually brings his conception into being, the photographer is the only imagemaker who begins with the picture completed. His emotions, his knowledge, and his native talent are brought into focus and fixed beyond recall the moment the shutter of his camera has closed.”
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Notice: this post isn’t supposed to showcase the best black-and-white-photos of world’s best photographers; please see it as a modest attempt to inspire designers for experimenting with black and white instead of using a variety of vibrant colors all the time. Hopefully, everybody will find something interesting and unusual for herself or himself.
Sources and Resources Tribute to Masters of Photography B/W Photo Gallery 1000 B&W Flickr Pool Decisive Moments: Classics in B&W The Blanco y Negro – Black and White Flickr Pool Noir & Blanc Blue and White Excellence Moments The Art of Black and White (Hard Cover) Ten Truly Inspiring Photographers Key Ingredients to B/W Photography
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Woman Of Tibet. Realism at its best. Awarded with International Photography Awards in 2007.
Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. When he is not writing or speaking at a conference, he’s most probably running … More about Vitaly…
Long exposure black and white minimalistic photography is quite a popular genre the last years and is still gaining in popularity. But despite the long list of great long exposure photographers of late it all started with Michael Kenna. Perhaps not the first long exposure photographer – who can tell? – but surely the photographer who was at the start of long exposure photography as a very popular genre. Kenna’s long exposure photographs are often times focused on night time long exposure photography with exposure times extending to 5 hours or more, of course using analog cameras. But besides the typical long exposure photographs with mainly seascapes and a famous series with nuclear power plants, called Power Station, Kenna also created a breathtaking series of lone trees in the snow. Michael Kenna, truly an artist who had a decisive influence on today’s photography.
Quote: “I am convinced that any photographic attempt to show the complete man is nonsense. We can only show, as best we can, what the outer man reveals. The inner man is seldom revealed to anyone, sometimes not even the man himself.”
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4. Hiroshi Sugimoto: Japanese artist whose work can be seen on the U2 Album cover, ‘No line on the horizon’
Quote: “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy”
1. Julius Shulman: One of the greatest architectural photographers ever.
Staircase is an example of Gibson’s high-contrast, minimalist black and white compositions have influenced a generation of photographers. By isolating the essential elements of a scene, his pictures show a style that is unique and immediately recognizable. [via]
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This article is about some of the famous black and white photographers that ever lived. Although photography has moved on from the times when black and white was the only form in which photographs could be produced (or sepia and cream as the very oldest would appear), the spectacularly accurate reproductions of real life that are possible with full colour photography haven’t actually persuaded everyone that colour is better. There is a little something of style that is in black and white pictures but becomes lost in a colour print, and many professional photographers have decided to continue with the monochrome versions, for that and other reason, and here are ten of the most famous of those. They are listed alphabetically; who could presume to list them any other way?
Rodney Smith has his own understanding of professional black-and-white-photography. Unusual, abstract and surrealistic works.
As a child he trained unsuccessfully at music and with better luck as a painter (with his painter uncle Louis) he even went to art school, studying under the painter/sculptor André Lhote. He however, found his interest was more towards the realism provided by a camera than the cubist style that was fashionable in art at that time. He was inspired by the work of Martin Munkacsi, a Hungarian photojournalist, mentored by Endré Friedman (aka Robert Capa), and always said that he tried to catch ‘the decisive moment’ of an event – the one that, if you missed it, would never come again.
Two Tree Hill. The composition looks very surreal, yet powerful and beautiful.
1. Edward Steichen 1872 – 1970 – The most famous representative of the so called pictorialism movement, an art movement that dominated the start of the last century. Considered to be the very first fashion photographer, creator of The Pond – Moonlight, which was the most expensive photograph ever with a price tag of almost $3,000,000 until the likes of Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman and Peter Lik broke that record.
His younger brother, Cornell Capa, later founded the International Fund for Concerned Photography in his name in 1966 and then the New York International Center of Photography in 1974. Also, the Overseas Press Club created a medal in his honour, the Robert Capa Gold Medal. Robert Capa is credited with creating the term ‘Generation X’, which he used to refer to the young people who became adults just after WWII, in a photo-essay published in 1953.
Back in 2007 on a episode of the Antiques Roadshow, a collection of 23 issues of Camera Work was valued at a price of $ 60,000 to $ 90,000. You can view the entire collection of images that Camera Work published on photogravure.com.
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Lartique loved photographing cars, planes and the beautiful women of Paris – and one can’t really blame him for that! Born into a wealthy family in Courbevoie, France, he was an early starter, taking photographs from the age of seven. At first, he shot the people he knew carrying on their lives, then any sporting events that came his way and some of the early flights by aviation pioneers Louis Blériot, Gabriel Voisin and others. Over the years he built up a set of 120 enormous albums of pictures, but in middle age he concentrated more on his painting, through which he earned his living. He was described as ‘not especially gifted, but capable’ in this arena.
Of course this list doesn’t pretend to be an exhausting list; I could name at least a dozen other photographers who were equally important in the development of fine art photography in the past century.
But then it wouldn’t be a top 10 obviously. But if you’re interested I’m listing five other names here that are worth looking up and exploring:
Alignment. Sometiems all it takes is to be at the right place in the right moment and take a shot under the right angle. That’s what happened here.
June 9, 2008 Leave a comment Beautiful Black and White Photography 6 min read Graphics, Pictures, Photography Share on Twitter or LinkedIn
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Rui Palha photographs simple people in simple situations. Result: extraordinary photos of simple things surrounding our life.
2. Alfred Stieglitz 1864 – 1946 – Some say he’s the spiritual father of fine art photography. Founded Camera Work, a quarterly journal, considered to be the best and most beautiful photo magazine ever made.
Created a series of photos that only depicted clouds without any other reference points, called Equivalents, which can be seen as the start of fine-art in photography. Later on, Minor White wrote a famous essay on Equivalents, explaining Stieglitz’ concepts behind Equivalents.
The clouds as subject matter didn’t matter, it was the feeling conveyed and the symbolism that mattered. Stieglitz was also a friend of Steichen and co-founder of the Photo-Secession, a movement that promoted fine art photography.
Creator of iconic photographs like the Steerage, Spring Showers and several series of portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe
5. Nick Brandt: Still alive and relatively young compared to the mostly deceased photographers listed here. He documented the disappearing world of the African landscape, mainly wildlife with a strong fine art approach.
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Steichen partnered with Stieglitz in 1900, which resulted in the making of Camera Work.
Edward is regarded as one of the great American photographers who mastered the landscape, the portrait and the still life photograph. Especially known for his famous photographs of a pepper that many photography students still try to emulate. What not many people know is that Weston described the concept of pre-visualization at least ten years earlier than Ansel Adams who made this a term that every photographer today knows about. Together with Ansel Adams he was part of a group of San Francisco photographers called Group f/64 who emphasized the precisely focused and correctly exposed subject.
Quote: “When one sees the residuum of greatness before one’s camera, one must recognize it in a flash. There is a brief moment when all that there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit may be reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record. This is the elusive moment of truth”.
Alison’s life in black and white photos. The significance of these pictures emerges in retrospect. “When my daughter Alison was born, in the tradition of a new parent, I began to photograph her, initially in a separate and private body of work. However, in the process of documenting Alison’s growth, I developed a passionate interest in human relationships and capturing intimate moments in the lives of family and friends.”
Quote: “I am trying here to say something about the despised, the defeated, the alienated. About death and disaster, about the wounded, the crippled, the helpless, the rootless, the dislocated. About finality. About the last ditch.”
When we’re talking about documentary photography an extensive list of photographers come to mind but Dorothea Lange surely was one of the most prolific in this genre. She received a lot of recognition with her series of photos of migrant families. She documented the consequences the Great Depression had on displaced farm families, commissioned by the Farm Security Administration When looking at her most famous photograph Migrant Mother, it reminds me, despite the obvious lack of colour, so much of Steve McCurry’s Afghan Woman. I’d say, that Migrant Mother is the Mother of this Afghan woman on more than one level.
He was 69 before his early photographs were ‘discovered’ and he was introduced to John Szarkowski, who arranged an exhibition of his photographic work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, from which his career took off with a bang. He had a retrospective in France at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1964, which resulted in more commissions flooding in over the last twenty years of his life than he could fulfill. These included a great deal of film work that enabled him to photograph many celebrities along with every other person with whom he ever came into contact; a habit that must have made him disconcerting to be with!
Quote: “It’s not always easy to stand aside and be unable to do anything except record the sufferings around one.”
This shot was taken in El Salvador. Child with star mask during “Day Of The Dead”. Other child in background rolls tire for repair in garage where he works at an adult’s job. The photo is full of tiredness and stubbornness. Simple motif conveying strong emotions.
Quote: “It is not art in the professionalized sense about which I care, but that which is created sacredly, as a result of a deep inner experience, with all of oneself, and that becomes ‘art’ in time.”
Meet Smashing Book 6 with everything from design systems and accessible single-page apps to CSS Custom Properties, Grid, Service Workers, performance, AR/VR and responsive art direction. New frontiers in front-end and UX with Marcy Sutton, Harry Roberts, Laura Elizabeth and many others.
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lighting plays with geometry. Or geometry plays with lighting? The winner of the Black & White Spider Awards 2007.
This photo, titled Candy Cigarette, not just displays something, it tells a story. It is both emotional and beautiful. This is what the originality of black-and-white-photography is all about.
One of the greatest portrait and editorial photographers of the past century who made many famous portraits of equally famous people. From Muhammed Ali and Kennedy to Churchill, Bogart and Hepburn: they were all iconized in front of Karsh’ camera. Karsh was known to give significant importance to the hands of his subjects, as any good portrait photographer would do, and he would lit their hands separately. Many of his photographs are familiar to many people even though they might not know the artist behind it.
This photo has been taken in South Crillon Glacier, Washburn.
The photographers are randomly ordered and the order doesn’t reflect any ranking nor does this pretend to be an extensive list.
Indeed, beautiful black and white photography doesn’t attract with its play of colors. Here close attention to composition, lighting, perspective and the context it is shot in are important. Hence, before considering the photos presented below please prepare some patience and time. This post presents some truly excellent examples of beautiful black-and-white photography.
3. Henri Cartier Bresson – 1908 – 2004 – Street photographer, photo-essayist, co-founder of Magnum photography. H-C B coined “The Decisive moment” to reflect that there’s a unique moment in photography when everything falls into place for the perfect composition to express a meaningful message.
It’s highly intuitive and it cannot be repeated. Bresson was a master at that and created many iconic photographs that expressed this “Decisive moment’ and hereby elevating street or candid photography to an art form.
Many street photographers after him have tried to capture the Decisive moment photograph, but only a few succeeded. One of them who should be mentioned is Andre Kertesz from whom Bresson gained inspiration.
Kertesz called his Decisive Moment, “The delayed snapshot”.
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Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered to be the ‘father of modern photojournalism’, being one of the first to start using the new 35 mm format, and where candid photography was concerned, he was the master. Living to be almost a century old, he saw a great many important historical moments, witnessing many of them personally in his role as a journalist and photographing them as they happened. The child of a wealthy textile manufacturer, his parents were able to support him financially more than most, allowing him to develop his interest in photography without worrying about how to pay the bills.
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Polese’s works pay close attention to small, tiny details. The tones are perfects and compositions are beautiful which is why the photos are presented in this post. Notice the sharp contrast and the lighting at the first image below and the sharp pathway leading to the light in the second one.
Ten extraordinary black and white photographs sent to the Wired.com editorial by its readers.
Artistic yet beautiful and extremely powerful shot. Michele Clement is the winner of Black & White Spider Awards 2007 in category “Outstanding Achievement”.
5. Ansel Adams 1902 – 1984. Arguably one of the best known American photographers. The way we perceive and assess a black and white photograph up to this day, is largely formed by Ansel Adams’ contributions for elevating black and white photography to an art form.
The term zone system was invented by him and he described how a good black and white should look like: good coverage of all tonal zones and a result of perceiving a scene in his mind’s eyes: visualization.
His knowledge and teachings are documented in a 3 Volume book called “The Camera”, “The Negative” and “The Print”, which is considered to be the best text book on (black and white) photography ever written and largely still apply to modern day’s digital photography.
Adams was also known for manipulating his images in the dark room to align it with his vision, his ‘pre-visualization’, rather than to accept the original negative as it is. Look at the video to get an impression of Adams’ post processing in the darkroom and how much he manipulated his images and how his famous photograph “Moon over Hernandez” looked like in a straight print without any manipulation.
by Joel Tjintjelaar | Mar 24, 2015 | Blog, most popular | 6 comments
Aneta Kowalczyk makes portrait photography. Some of her photos are provoking, some are strange and some are extremely beautiful. The example below displays the beautiful side of black and white photography.
4. Robert Capa – 1913 – 1954 – War photographer, photo-essayist, co-founder of Magnum. His most famous, and at the same time a disturbing and iconic photograph, is a photo of the Spanish Civil war that depicts a man at the moment he’s being shot to death, called The Falling Soldier.
The term Generation X was coined by Capa, who used it as a title for a photo-essay. During the first Indochina war, while being commissioned for a photo reportage of that war, he stepped on a landmine and became one of the casualties of one of the wars he documented so successfully.
An illustrative summary of iconic pictures with their pairs of Balakov’s Lego figure pictures which are reconstructing famous moments in the history of mankind.
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2. Richard Avedon: One of my favourite portrait/fashion photographers who created many iconic photographs of celebrities
Pedro Meyer shows the life of people across the globe. This photo was taken in Rio De Janeiro.
Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco and was well-known not only for his stunning black and white photographs of the American Old West, in particular Yosemite National Park, but also for being a great environmentalist. Along with his friend Fred Archer, he invented the ‘Zone System’ for controlling contrast and finding the correct exposure to get a picture right. Although trained as a professional pianist, he became interested in photography when his father gave him a Kodak box brownie during a family visit to Yosemite in 1916 – less than a year later he was back in Yosemite, alone, with better cameras on a tripod and his future path was set.
Erwitt, an advertising and journalistic photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings — the master of the “indecisive moment”.
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Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami on the hills surrounding the capital, where his film “Taste of Cherry”, which was co-awarded the Golden Palm in Cannes 1997, was shot.
Alin Ciortea presents examples of modern street photography. In black and white, of course.
American Diane Arbus was a writer as well as a photographer, and noted for her pictures of so-called “freaks” – people who were different from what is considered the norm, such as giants, dwarves, circus performers, etc. Early work after studying with Berenice Abbott didn’t really take off, but it was after studying with Lisette Model from 1956 that she began to develop the style and methods that she was later known for. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963, renewed in 1966, and taught photography at the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Union in New York through the 1960’s.
His photographs are still seen on calendars, postcards, and so on and form a historical record of the national parks before they were changed by tourism. The nation’s top civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was awarded to him by Jimmy Carter in 1980, and he has won numerous other awards – and had several named for him! Adams is undoubtedly one of the most popular black and white photographers that ever lived
Tour Eiffel: extraordinary contrast and perspective. Strong, clean and very precise shot.
In her legendary photos Toni Frissell impresses with a strong trend toward surrealism or realism. The photo presented below, although in black and white, is both extremely sharp and clear. To achieve such level of clarity in black and white is extremely hard.
Quote: “Photographing at night can be fascinating because we lose some of the control over what happens in front of the camera. Over a period of time the world changes; rivers flow, planes fly by, clouds pass and the earth’s position relative to the stars is different. This accumulation of time and events, impossible for the human eye to take in, can be recorded on film. For the photographer, real can become surreal, which is exciting. During the day, when most photographs are made, scenes are usually viewed from the vantage-point of a fixed single light source, the sun. At night the light can come from unusual and multiple sources. There can be deep shadows which act as catalysts for our imagination. There is often a sense of drama, a story about to be told, secrets revealed, actors about to enter onto the stage. The night has vast potential for creativity.”