When you break down the origin of the word “photography,” it
means the study of light. There’s no better way to revisit that concept than to
practice photographing in black-and-white. As photographers, we are always
studying light, finding ways we can use it to tell a story and transport an
audience to another place, or conversely, to somewhere familiar.
It’s been an interesting adventure going directly from the Pop of Color assignment to Life in Black and White. With an
assignment celebrating color, I found myself immersed in images with bold
colors and bursts of energy. When I turned to black-and-white, I saw
submissions of quiet, reserved, and moody imagery. There were also black-and-white
images bursting at the seams with zest, but overall I sensed a change in energy.
This assignment celebrated light, contrast, texture, details,
and layers. Black-and-white forces us to go back to the basics—you can’t rely on stunning color to carry the image.
Instead, you have to tell your story with light, making light and shadow the characters
in your frame (well said, Elizabeth Paoletti).
What humbled me from this assignment was the motivation within the community. Many of you tried black-and-white
for the first time. Some chose to overcome the comfort of color, and slowed
down to fully immerse into the process. And some revisited a love for the style that they started photography with.
No matter your motivation, thank you all for taking this black-and-white journey with me. I look forward to seeing more of your black-and-white submissions in future assignments.
Kristen is an Associate Photo Editor with the Your Shot team. She interned at the White House Photo Office under the Obama Administration as well as Education Week. A proud RIT alumna, dessert enthusiast and Finger Lakes, NY native, Kristen is excited to guide your photographic journey!