Throughout the history of Photography, Black and White Photography contributed a unique view of the world through the camera’s lens. But why has black and white photography conquered so many photographers? Be it Henri Cartier-Bresson, Daido Moriyama, or Toni Frissell, artists in this art form have consistently explored black and white photography by paying close attention to its composition, perspective, lighting, and context.
Today, as camera technology gets better, black and white photography still prevails and lends a certain timeless and authentic quality to the image, emphasizing on emotions, escaping the cluttered and confusing aspect of colors. In this article, The Artling looks at 10 contemporary photographers who are making their mark in black and white photography and pushing the genre forward.
Born and raised in Singapore, Zhou is a Photographic Artist and Art Director. After graduating from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore and RMIT University, he went on to make a living as an art director and continues to pursue his passion as a visual storyteller and photographer. He uses photography as a way to explore, investigate, and document the culture and people in the cities he lived in.
The Frenetic City series examines the intense and chaotic environment of one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong, a society that is in fierce competition for physical and mental space. Here, Zhou decided to capture and re-create the tension and chaos experienced in photographic form. Every photograph in this series was created with multiple exposures on B&W film. Each photograph is not of a singular moment in time, but a multitude of moments in time captured in a single frame.
Jérôme’s ethereal and mystical photographs are focusing on the timelessness of the garden, in which human beings are absent. They take on a life and presence of their very own, at times evoking a world of mystery. He began his career photographing art, a subject that took him to the Rothschild Collection in Waddesdon Manor then onto the United States to the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
His interest in large classical gardens led him to create a set of forty photographs of the Villarceaux estate that he presented on-site in 2003 and a work on the theme of Writers Houses that he exhibited in 2005 to the Regional Council of Ile-de-France. Classic, timeless, a nostalgic or melancholic nothing, his views devoid of all human presence track down the mystery of the spirit of the time of his moment of ostentation. Placing himself in ambush, he gives us, calm, rested, filtered, traces of happiness torn from the precipice of modernity voluptuously remotely.
Alexandre first fell in love with photography in 2000 while traveling around São Paulo in Brazil. With a disposable camera in his bag, he started to record every corner of urban landscape among this wonderfully strange, enormous city. After a Ph.D. in language science studies and a few years to teach in this field, he decided to turn seriously his passion for photography. He was drawn into the world of pathos and emotions which launched his desire to dedicate his life recording the silent aesthetic of our beautiful world.
That is the reason why Alexandre doesn't take souvenir pictures but timeless and almost pure natural scenery instead. In fact, Alexandre is fascinated by the temporality of photography, which is very brief in the act of shooting but strangely flexible once it is observed. All his work is all about observation and following him, his sceneries try to be independent from our presence, even if sometimes some silhouettes, wrecks, or structures witness our inevitable reliance. He is also passionate about Art, especially Land Art and Abstract paintings.
Hengki is an accomplished photographer, specializing in capturing the spectral domain that lies amidst the shades of black and white. Born in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, he went on to pursue his education in Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California—an expedition that plunged him into the professional arena of video production and fine art photography. He was first introduced to photography on his 11th birthday – which by now is an earnest love affair that involves an elaborate choreography of composition, texture, shapes, and lines.
Delving into what he believes to be his true purpose in life's journey of expression, he indulges himself in the art of black and white photography on the side. His works explore the borderlines of light and shadow, the yin and the yang, and celebrate the complexity in minimalism.
Stephen King is a landscape photographer based in Hong Kong. Fascinated by patterns formed by nature, King enjoys traveling the world in search of images that explore the landscape's capacity for both drama and serenity. King's work has been described as painterly, a style he cultivates through his use of light, color, and composition. A product of two cultures, King points to his love of Chinese ink painting and American Abstract Expressionism as influences that help inform his aesthetic. King currently shoots primarily with the Phase One XF and Sony A7Rii camera systems.
King exhibits his work regularly in Hong Kong, including at Art Basel and Fine Art Asia and his large scale prints have proved popular with private and corporate collectors around the world. His work has been featured in numerous prestigious art and photography publications including National Geographic, Asia Art News, Zoom Magazine, and Art Investment Magazine. King also regularly donates his work to support charity auctions to raise funds for worthy causes.
Beata is a self-taught artist from Poland. She has been always attracted to abstractionism, minimalism, and surrealism. The world she shows through the lens lies at the intersection of photography and fine arts. Her images often refer to the poetry of the ordinary. She explores the surroundings in search of everyday landscapes in order to extract colors, shapes, textures, and patterns. Thanks to this, seemingly dull and unattractive images acquire the status of intriguing, independent artistic entities.
In 2014 she obtained the title of the Artist of the Photoclub of the Republic of Poland (AFRP), and in 2015 the prestigious title of Artiste Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique (AFIAP).
Lexi is a Chinese born multidisciplinary artist and fashion photographer based in Berlin. She completed her Master's degree in Contemporary Photography and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins in 2018 and represented by Blank100 London.
Lexi senses rhythm and repetition as the rhizome of her art practice. Throughout her practice, combining installation, performance, photography, moving image, and sound, she explores the rhythm of the process of folding, unfolding and refolding the repetition, the repetition itself leads to infinity. Throughout her art spans the domains of fine art and of fashion, she is building bridges between civilizations, contributing to the way we understand each other and ourselves.
After studying Photography in the Bigakko School of Arts, Yoichiro expressed an interest in taking photographs of his surroundings, and with the influence of the two admired Japanese photographers Takuma Nakahira and Daido Moriyama, it has since then become the focal point of his lenses.
In his “Life” series, Yoichiro has done years of experiment, capturing the beauty of his own ‘Ikebana’: the Japanese art of flower arrangement. The format which the artist employs expresses the flowers’ elegance, one of the two translations in Japanese Kanji characters for the word flower (華). On a dark setting, the flowers are photographed under natural light using a Hasselblad camera, a snapshot where his emotions and values resonate describing the balance between life and death, light and dark, and the Chinese principle of yin and yang. For Yoichiro, the latest technology is secondary, it is only the artistic expression of his own inspiration.
Lee is a self-taught and avid photographer, a creative director and account manager in his advertising team, based in Ipoh, Malaysia. His passion for photography has been brewing since he learned to appreciate art and beauty, and also by pursuing his study in Graphic Design.
His journey of photography had been driving him to create minimalistic black and white photography. In his works, Lee expresses his creative vision of the world, and his senses towards the compositional elements of his images: the environment, the people and all the living beings.
During his lifetime Han (1933-1999) was little known outside of Korea. Seen from today’s vantage point, his photographs come as a surprise. With their impeccable composition, flawless timing, and scrupulous attention to social detail, they suggest the work of a long-lost Korean cousin of such early Magnum photographers as David Seymour (Chim) and Marc Riboud.
After taking part in a bitter frontline fighting as a young South Korean soldier during the Korean War (1950-53), Han returned to Seoul at the war’s end and found a devastated, impoverished city. Choosing photography as a profession, he witnessed a period of profound transformation in Seoul that saw the rapid creation of a modern city and urban society.
His photographs tell this story by offering a fascinating window onto the everyday lives of the city’s ordinary men, women, and children. Although he did not overlook the surviving customs and architecture of old Seoul, Han was more interested in exploring the modern urban culture that was rapidly taking shape. Han paid special attention to the changing status of Korean women, who were then finding new roles as entrepreneurs or consumers, as suggested in his views of narrow streets lined with well-stocked fashion boutiques.
His photographs of Seoul in the postwar decade are now recognized as one of the richest and most humanly sympathetic visual records of those years.
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