Black and white photography is such a powerful medium of expression, and there’s no fair way to pick the top 14, 40 or 400 best black and white images.
However, it is safe to say these images are amazing, and I tried to showcase a good cross-section of emotion, beauty and expressiveness in picking them.
1. Removing the color from this photo allows the eye to take in the stunning visual power of the element of shape caught by the photographer's lens.
2. The complexity of elements mixed with the simplicity of setting makes for a great photo.
3. Few things show us how much we are at the mercy of Mother Nature than an approaching storm.
4. The contrast and shadow in this photo make the viewer wonder about the subject — what is his story?
5. The entrance of new life into a family is such a powerful occurrence, perhaps due to its ability to show human mortality while also giving us an appreciation for new beginnings.
6. There's a reason so many famous photos that have stood the test of time are in black and white. The format takes away any distractions of color that may draw the eye away from the core message of the photograph, allowing the viewer to zero in on the key message of the image.
7. Black and white photography's power to cancel out the distractions of color is evident in this photo here, where raw emotion draws you into the emotional world of the subject.
8. Here is an example of black and white photography that’s not quite so serious. I love how this photo plays with size and proportion to make a fun and quirky image.
9. Some of the greatest tricks of photography work best in a black and white setting.
10. This photo captures a playful, airy, almost effervescent feeling without relying on the use of color.
11. Yep, those are elephants hugging each other.
12. The ability to evoke contrast through setting and character is a good storytelling tactic that’s made even more powerful through the contrast of light.
13. This famous photo says so much with so few elements. The grittiness of reality is reinforced through the black and white.
14. One of the most definable elements of good black and white photography is its timelessness. This is a photo of beauty — no color necessary.
Some of these images tell stories. Some are special moments of time. Some incite intense emotions, and some leave the viewer wondering. Such is the power of black and white photography.
Without color, the message, tone or feeling of an image is concentrated. Even with advancing and changing photographic technology, these images won’t lose their impact or import.