Starting my research for the Black & White Assignment

Even though I have a few more exercise to complete before I head out to take photos for my black and white assignment, I have started thinking about my theme or more importantly, what I want to achieve from the set of images I will submit for assessment.

I feel that I am really becoming obsessed with this subject, more so than any of the others we have coved during the DPP module – in fact, I think more so than any of the previous modules I have studied with the OCA.  I find myself looking at things differently, and wondering what they would look like if converted into black and white.  I am reading as many books and magazines as possible, and hunting out images that lack colour and contain hard, grainy details of tones, textures and dark spots.

I have also been playing around with Photoshop, just to see how far I can push my image manipulation, and to see what kind of images warrant the conversion to black and white, while still maintaining a little of the original so, so as not to change thing to the absolute extreme!

In one of my previous posts, I asked the question ‘What makes for a good black and white photograph?’ and although I wrote quiet a lengthy report on my thoughts surrounding this, I had a comment asking me ‘… What makes for a good black and white photograph … ?’, which I have been pondering on for some time now.

This is a very subjective question and for me, I think black and white images should be edgy, although there are instances where softer images do work well without the inclusion of colour, such as some foliage shots:

Lilly in Black and White - GRAF

Lilly in Black and White – GRAF

And certain portraits:

Peek-A-Boo [Black & White conversion]

Peek-A-Boo [Black & White conversion]

As seen in my post ‘What makes for a gook Black and White Photograph?

Nevertheless, and at the time of writing, in my mind black and white equates to definite differences between dark and light, with areas of almost black highlighted against an almost stark white; I think that the various shades of grey in between should also be prominent and assist in highlighting the darkness and lightness of the work.  When thinking in terms of black and white, the words drama and dramatic pop into my minds-eye and I feel that a certain amount of this should be included in these types of image.

One thing I have not done during this research is look very closely at the ‘classics’, or pondered for hours over images by the greats in this field (such as ADAMS or LANGE).  I understand that much can be learned from the work of others, but as this subject is so interesting to me, I wanted to go-it-alone for now, and perhaps do some further digging at a later date.

For my assignment, I am leaning towards images of buildings and perhaps more specifically images of grand structures such as churches, cathedrals or bridges.  During a recent trip to London, I played around with a few interesting structures, (and some interesting wildlife), which I have included below in my continuing documentation of my journey into black and white imagery.



Graf, A.  (2010) Lilly [Online Image].  Available at: <; [Accessed 12 August 2013].


Freeman, M,  (2008) Mastering Digital Photography.  East Sussex: The Ilex Press Limited.

Grogan, P.  (2013) Get the Anesl Adams Look.  Photography Week.  Issue 45; 01-07 August 2013.  P.4-6

Obermeier, B.  (2010) Photoshop® CS5 All-in-One For Dummies®.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc.

Rutter, C.  (2013) Get Superb Summer Black & White.  Digital Camera Magazine.  July 2013.  P34-45

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