One of the unfortunate side effects of the digital revolution has been a lack of respect for black and white photography. What was once a carefully crafted art form has become somewhat of an afterthought for many photographers. These days, it’s all too easy to think of monochrome simply as a means for rescuing colour photos with flat skies or dull tones.
Thankfully, there are still a large number of black and white photographers out there, thinking, seeing and composing in monochrome. We’ve rounded up 11 of the most amazing black and white photographers currently posting images on 500px.
Stunning contrast, yet rich in detail, Hegel’s diverse images are equally striking from his portrait photography through to his landscapes. Closing in on a million views, why haven’t you viewed them yet?
You may think you’ve seen good architectural photography, but you haven’t. Not unless you’ve seen Joel Tjintjelaar’s stunning pictures of buildings, that is.
Armando’s black and white travel images break the mould of traditional travel photography by eschewing landmarks and using monochrome to highlight the hidden details within cities and daily life.
Well into the age of sharing photos online, we’ve all by now seen some great street photography. But you’ve probably not seen portraiture like Tatsuo Suzuki’s. His candid images from the streets of Tokyo are striking simply for how close Suzuki gets to his subjects and their expressions and engagement with his camera.
By now the black and white, daytime long exposures of the sea, where the water takes on a milky effect are pretty old hat. But Ipenburg’s serene portfolio succeeds by finding foreground interest other than the piers that have become standard fare. Trees, rocks and dilapidated jetties may be common in traditional landscapes, but here they give a breath of fresh air.
French photographer Benoit Courti’s portfolio is everything you’d expect black and white French photography to be: one part Sarah Moon mixed with two parts Cartier-Bresson. One of the more popular black and white photographers on 500px, Courti’s portfolio will leave you feeling inspired to borrow some of his better ideas!
How to describe Indonesian fine art photographer Hengki Koentjoro’s landscape photography? The art snob in us would say, imagine the bleakness of a Cormac McCarthy novel made into a movie by David Lynch. Just go browse these amazing atmospheric scenics and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
While not exclusively a black and white photographer like others on this list, Xenie Zasetskaya shoots the bulk of her stunning portraits in monochrome. Specialising in candid moments and catching expressions where her subject is fully engaged with the camera, Zasetskaya’s portraits feel highly personal and true reflections of her subjects.
Self-taught San Francisco-based photographer Nathan Wirth mixes infrared and long exposures to create amazing dream-like coastal landscapes like nothing you’ve seen before. Wirth also likes to include a lone figure in his minimalist photos to add an extra element of mystery.
Malaysian photographer Thomas Leong is quite skilled at long exposures and uses them to blur the sea and show its relationship with where he lives. His portfolio traces the sea from its traditional natural views, to its collision with man-made structures like highway overpasses, factories and commercial fishing.
A film photographer, Matt Pringle’s amazing cityscapes often look almost like images from the very early days of photography. Not afraid to use movement and sacrifice sharpness for ambience, Pringle was picked by 500px’s editors as one of the site’s best film photographers of 2012.
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