The Emotion of Black and White

Maybe it’s a gross generalisation, but I feel fairly comfortable saying that most people love the simplicity and purity of black and white images. I once read a quote that said “When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes; when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.” (Ted Grant)

I sometimes find images that seem too busy or overwhelming in colour look fantastic in black and white. Many times this is because all the distracting elements are taken away and you are drawn into the emotion rather than the content of the photo.

black and white of father and son

I adore this photo of my husband and son. I’m sure it’s more poignant for me because I know how much effort goes into getting in daddy’s pockets (with velcro and zippers in the way!), and they’re my family so I love them to bits. But the colour image just doesn’t have the same impact – his old blue work shirt, with a gold pillow, on a purple hammock with a green fence in the background… Colour clash and sensory overload! In black and white, all those distractions are removed.

But have you ever looked back at old family photos and wondered what they looked like in colour? Have a look at these amazing colourisations of historical figures and events. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around how to achieve this, but love seeing them “brought to life”.

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