In this post, we have put together some inspirational quotes on black and white photography by noted photographers and artists. We hope they inspire you to create your own beautiful B&W photographs!
Producing noteworthy black and white photographs often involves more than just converting a color photo to grayscale. An understanding of which scene would work better in black and white than color is crucial. Taking control of the tone during the conversion process is equally important.
“One sees differently with color photography than black-and-white… in short, visualization must be modified by the specific nature of the equipment and materials being used.” – Ansel Adams
“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected” – Robert Frank
Just simple things – I like black and white, monochrome; I like suits. Vanessa Kirby
“Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.” – Eliott Erwitt
Philip Jones Griffiths was a Welsh photojournalist. He’s best known for his coverage of the Vietnam war. He was president of Magnum, between 1980-85.
It’s about you. If you win, it’s you; if you lose, it’s you. Black and white. Nowhere to hide. Greg Rusedski
We are all somewhere or the other a little grey, not black and white. We have our imperfections. Kriti Sanon
“Color tends to corrupt photography and absolute color corrupts it absolutely. Consider the way color film usually renders blue sky, green foliage, lipstick red, and the kiddies’ playsuit. These are four simple words which must be whispered: color photography is vulgar.” – Walker Evans
If everything isn’t black and white, I say, ‘Why the hell not?’ John Wayne
“Black and white isn’t just a classic, it’s also timeless.” ― Anthony T. Hincks
“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.” – Henri Mattise
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“I think it’s because it was an emotional story, and emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.” – Kim Hunter
I don’t believe there’s two sides to every story. It’s black and white. There’s right and wrong. Joe Wurzelbacher
“No person is completely wicked, just as no person is perfect. We are all grey” ― Sweety Shinde, Arjun: Without a Doubt
Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument? That it has notes no other instrument has? It’s like being between the keys of a piano. The notes are there, you can sing them, but they can’t be found on any instrument.
That’s like me. I live in between this. I live in both worlds, the black and white world. Nina Simone
“The most colorful thing in the world is black and white, it contains all colors and at the same time excludes all.” ― Vikrmn, 10 Alone
Things are not quite so simple always as black and white. Doris Lessing
“One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty.” – Paul Outerbridge
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Ted Grant is Canada’s most prolific living photographer. He has a career spanning 60 years as a photojournalist.
“The first draft is black and white. Editing gives the story color.” ― Emma Hill
“Books bring alluring colors to our mundane black and white world.” ― Caleb Reese
“A zebra will never see the funny side of things because he is always thinking in black & white.” ― Anthony T.Hincks
“Mortals. Everything is so black and white to you.” ― Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures
“At first, all is black and white.Black on white.That’s where I’m walking, through pages.These pages.Sometimes it gets so that I have one foot in the pages and the words, and the other in what they speak of.” ― Markus Zusak, Underdog
“WHETHER IT’S A CHILD’S TOY OR A NATION’S OIL, IT’S ALL THE SAME, the Red Rider said. YOU FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU WANT. AGGRESSION. IT’S THE SPICE OF LIFE. War was right: people had to fight for what they wanted.
Or maybe balance, as Famine has said — strength matched with temperance. No, she thought. Not balance, Control. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT CONTROL, War agreed merrily. [as in the meaning of why wars happen]” ― Jackie Kessler, Rage
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant
Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world. Joel Sternfeld
Ansel Easton Adams was an American landscape photographer. His black-and-white landscape images showcased the American West, especially National Parks. They appear in calendars, posters, books, and all over the internet.
“Life!Even though it’s black and white, it’s still fairly colorful.” ― Anthony T. Hincks
I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.
“In the beginning, some people try to appear that everything about them is “in black and white,” until later their true colors come out.” ― Anthony Liccione
Paul Outerbridge, Jr. was an American photographer. He’s known for his early use of and experiments with color photography.
When you get to know a lot of people, you make a great discovery. You find that no one group has a monopoly on looks, brains, goodness or anything else. It takes all the people – black and white, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant, recent immigrants and Mayflower descendants – to make up America.
Jennifer Price is an American contemporary photographer. She runs her own photography studio in California.
His latest book, published in 2009, came with the title “Real Photographers Shoot Black and White. Sometimes Colour”.
When you create a black and white photograph, you create something that is abstract and strikingly real at the same time. Black and white photography is strange that way. It is perhaps this abstractness that makes black and white images so intriguing and timeless.
“Our personal past is only available to us now through black-and-white film, it’s a medium for communication with the dead, including our dead selves, the way we used to be, which is why we’re drawn to it.
” ― Frank Lentricchia, The Sadness of Antonioni
Eliott Erwitt is an American photographer, best known for his street photography. He also used black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings.
Ritesh has been photographing for about seven years now and his photographic interests have varied from nature and landscapes to street photography. You can see his photography on Flickr or on his website.
“The eye should learn to listen before it looks.” ― Robert Frank
“Don’t ever let the light of your soul dim, even if the world seems black and white.” ― Tilicia Haridat
Robert Frank is a Swiss-American photographer and documentary filmmaker. His most notable work, the 1958 book titled The Americans, presented his outsider’s view of American society.
“Loo, life is black and white. You don’t know what’s good for you, because you don’t see the black and white! You don’t see where the black lines end and where the white lines begin! You’re going to grow up to be no good if you keep on that way.
It’s impractical. I only have one child, and I won’t have her growing up to be impractical. I can’t think of a worse thing to be than impractical!” ― C. JoyBell C., Saint Paul Trois Chateaux: 1948
There are infinite shades of grey. Writing often appears so black and white. Rebecca Solnit
Being glamorous is about strength and confidence. It’s black and white – dramatic. You have to be strong. Catherine Zeta-Jones
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“When I was a little girl, everything in the world fell into either of these two categories: wrong or right. Black or white. Now that I am an adult, I have put childish things aside and now I know that some things fall into wrong and some things fall into right.
Some things are categorized as black and some things are categorized as white. But most things in the world aren’t either! Most things in the world aren’t black, aren’t white, aren’t wrong, aren’t right, but most of everything is just different.
And now I know that there’s nothing wrong with different, and that we can let things be different, we don’t have to try and make them black or white, we can just let them be grey. And when I was a child, I thought that God was the God who only saw black and white.
Now that I am no longer a child, I can see, that God is the God who can see the black and the white and the grey, too, and He dances on the grey! Grey is okay.” ― C. JoyBell C.
“A rock is harder than a feather, you can talk and jabber and make exceptions, but in the end, if you have to choose which one is gonna hit you on the head, you’ll choose the feather every single time.” ― Andrew Klavan, The Truth of the Matter
The great thing about getting older is that you become more mellow. Things aren’t as black and white, and you become much more tolerant. You can see the good in things much more easily rather than getting enraged as you used to do when you were young.
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”― Ted Grant
Human nature is not black and white but black and grey. Graham Greene
“It’s because I know that life is really black and white that I miss my life of colors.” ― Anthony T.Hincks
“In black and white there are more colors than color photography, because you are not blocked by any colors so you can use your experiences, your knowledge, and your fantasy, to put colors into black and white.” – Anders Petersen
“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul” – Andri Cauldwell
Henri Matisse was a French Fauvist painter. He said, even after 40 years of painting and discovering, black is the most powerful colour.
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Life is not black and white; there is some gray nuance to it. Pilou Asbaek
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In tragedy, it’s hard to find a good resolution; it’s not black and white: it’s a big fog of gray. Paul Dano
“You have a consistent character yourself and you wish all the facts of life to be consistent, but they never are. For instance you despise public service because you want work always to correspond to its aims, and that never happens.
You also want the activity of each separate man to have an aim, and love and family life always to coincide––and that doesn’t happen either. All the variety, charm and beauty of life are made up of light and shade.
” ― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Everything is very black and white for me. I don’t really like playing mind games. Zayn Malik
Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can. Jack Antonoff
Life isn’t black and white. It’s a million gray areas, don’t you find? Ridley Scott
Anders Petersen (born 3 May 1944) is a Swedish photographer, who works in Stockholm. His work features intimate and personal black and white documentary-style photographs.
Kim Hunter was an American actress. Ok, so she’s not a photographer. But her quote on black and white is no less mighty.
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“What if — is more complicated than that? What if maybe opposite is true as well? Because, if bad can sometimes come from good actions—? where does it ever say, anywhere, that only bad can come from bad actions? Maybe sometimes — the wrong way is the right way? You can take the wrong path and it still comes out where you want to be? Or, spin it another way, sometimes you can do everything wrong and it still turns out to be right?” ― Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected. Robert Frank
“I am very cautious of people who are absolutely right, especially when they are vehemently so.” ― Michael Palin, Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years
“What I love about Black & White photographs is that they’re more like reading the book than seeing the movie” – Jennifer Price
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“This world that we live in would be perfect if there were less prejudice and people who think they are better than others.” ― Werley Nortreus
“He’s a Muslim, you know.” Um-Nadia’s voice is half-warning and half-laughter. “Dark as an Egyptian.””Ma!” Mirielle shouts. “Get a grip.”Um-Nadia’s grinning like it’s one of her old jokes. “And here is our beautiful Sirine, whiter than this.
” She takes a bite out of a whole peeled onion as if it were an apple.” ― Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
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Walker Evans was an American photojournalist and photographer. He’s best known for his work for the FSA (Farm Security Administration) documenting the effects of the Great Depression.
“Ought one to surrender to authority even if one believed that that authority was wrong? If the answer was yes, then I knew that I would always be wrong, because I could never do it. Then how could one live in a world in which one’s mind and perceptions meant nothing and authority and tradition meant everything? There were no answers.
” ― Richard Wright, Black Boy
“Let’s assume that all the cassettes of monochrome film Cartier-Bresson ever exposed had somehow been surreptitiously loaded with color film. I’d venture to say that about two-thirds of his pictures would be ruined and the remainder unaffected, neither spoiled nor improved. And perhaps one in a thousand enhanced.” – Philip Jones Griffiths
Andri Magdelena Cauldwell is a contemporary American photographer Her black and white quotes pinpoint exactly how powerful monochrome photography can be.
“I am a writer. I live a thousand different lives in a thousand different places, in a galaxy of black and white words. Lend me your imagination, reader, and let me show you new places, new people, and fantastic worlds, in all the myriad colors of your mind.
” ― Christine Stobbe
There’s so much grey to every story – nothing is so black and white. Lisa Ling
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I prefer black and white and portrait photography. I like old, you know, interesting faces, so I think black and white brings out the contrast. Brooklyn Beckham
I want to be known for what I am, black and white, because I’m proud of both. Logic
Read our 12 best black and white quotes and you’ll understand.
Some girls like to say one thing and mean another. And me being who I am, I’m very straightforward. Everything is very black and white for me. I don’t really like playing mind games. Zayn Malik
Today, we are looking at the world of monochrome photography and the best black and white quotes.
I don’t see the world completely in black and white. Sometimes I do. Benicio Del Toro
“We look amazing,” I repeated, as if I could make up for our brother’s rudeness.And we did look amazing. Käthe and I were dressed as an angel and a demon, but to my surprise, my sister had chosen to be the devil.
She looked majestic in her gown of black velvet, her golden curls draped with black silk and lace, cleverly twisted together and pinned to resemble horns growing from her head. She had rouged her lips a bright red, and her blue eyes looked imperious from behind her black mask.
For a moment, the image of moldering gowns on dress forms rose up in my mind, a polished bronze mirror reflecting an endless line of faded Goblin Queens. I swallowed.The dress my sister had made for me was nearly innocent in its simplicity.
Yards and yards of fine white muslin had made a floating, ethereal gown, while Käthe had somehow fashioned a brocade cape into the shape of folded angel wings, which grew from my shoulder blades and cascaded to the floor.
She had braided gold into a crown about my head for a halo, and I carried a lyre to complete the picture.” ― S. Jae-Jones, Shadowsong
“Its not easy taking your own advice, accepting what you don’t like hearing, & seeing the grey amongst the black & white.” ― April Mae Monterrosa