Once the norm, the absence of color in photographs in the past few decades is now deliberate rather than a technological limitation. And this trend continues to grow as modern photographers or photography professionals opt for white and black whilst forgoing subtle customized tones and vivid Lomo hues synonymous with an advanced SLR. Who then are these big shots that do not seem to care for color and for whom shooting in white and black allows a certain punch, specific style, and special magic that their vision demands? Below, we take a look at 10 famous black and white photographers as follows:
10 Black And White Photographers You Probably Didn’t Know
1. Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Though varied, some of this American husband and wife duo’s most famous works are from the Architects Brother series and are done in black and white or light sepia to be specific. Their surreal environmental performances capture and poetically and metaphorically link idiosyncratic rituals, laborious actions and strangely crude machines into stories of our modern experience. The absence of color provides the photographs with a melancholy, noir feel, and a weight of history untethered to any specific period.
2. Daido Moriyama
Although photographer Daido Moriyama’s work mainly taps into the frantic post-war Japan zeitgeist, it nevertheless spans decades. He channeled the breakdown of Japanese traditional values with high, aggressive contrast, grainy street photography, with fleeting dynamic angles, and compositions harking at German Expressionism. In addition, the white and black that feature prominently espouse fluid continuity and sex, with the latter being more pronounced especially in black and white.
Belgrade-born, Brooklyn based Boogie shoots almost entirely in white and black film and his work is, undoubtedly, the real deal. From skinheads in Serbia to Gangs in New York City projects and from the back roads of Kingston to the streets of Tokyo, he covers it all. Boogie roams deep and wide in order to catch definitive, potent moments amidst the chaos thus delivering photojournalism so good, it becomes art. Add to that the gray-scale, grainy grittiness and you have the perfect stylistic fit.
4. Roger Ballen
Johannesburg-based American-born Roger Ballen began with documentary photography in rural South Africa before his oeuvre mutated, organically. Unlike most black and white photographers, his surrealism is not synthesized and is drawn out with potent, prudent compositions, and sculptural use of props. Ballens instantly recognizable style means that the presence of color is likely to be aesthetically offensive.
5. Joel-Peter Witkin
Based in Albuquerque, Joel-Peter Witkin is a controversial black and white photographer who is renowned for shooting dead things, and mostly in pieces, and also anatomically unconventional nudes- which may at times be in pieces. Were it not for the fact that these photographs are shot in white and black, perhaps the tint of old, clotted blood, and rotten flesh would turn this meticulous portraiture and still-life into straight horror. However, as unbelievable as it may sound, there is a true morbid beauty to Witkins work provided it matches your taste of the bizarre.