The Power of Black And White Portraiture

The Leica Monochrom, and our attendant focus on the power of black and white photography, raises the issue of why the absence of color renders images of people in a more arresting manner.


Leica Monochrom, Leica Noctilux f/0.95, 3x ND Filter

No doubt there is a literature on the topic, but our initial belief is that just as selective focus isolates the person or people who are the photograph’s subject, there is something about the desaturation of color that renders the image out of the context of (contemporary) time.


Leica Monochrom, Leica Noctilux f/0.95, 3x ND filter

And sometimes the combination of isolation and timelessness, even on a shot that you don’t quite get, reveals the power of photography in a way that’s compelling.


Leica Monochrom, Leica Noctilux f/0.95, 3x ND filter

2 Responses to “The Power of Black And White Portraiture”

  1. I wonder if those who grew up seeing mostly color on their television screens and in their magazines view black and white the same way those of us who grew up with black and white see it. Now that I am approaching elderly-hood, I see black and white photography and films in a way that makes me look forward to the experience the next time. Take a look at The Pawnbroker or High Noon again.

  2. johnbuckley100 Says:

    What an interesting question. By the time I really became I interested in photography, color was accepted — a big shift from when B+W ruled. So going back to B+W — which I shot when I was young, right around the time color television had become common in virtually all households — is a return to a medium that somehow feels rarified, special. I welcome it, even as I still so love deeply saturated color.

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