Black and white art has a special kind of appeal – it’s elegant, it invites meditation and it’s got a beautiful kind of simplicity that you just can’t achieve with color. Given the world’s fascination with monochrome photography, we’ve decided to bring you 10 of the best black and white pictures that the Internet has to offer. They will delight, impress and make you ponder, which is exactly what great art does for the soul.
1. Toni Frissell
Toni Frissell is a legendary creator of black and white art. Her images blend fashion shoot glamour, surrealism and a penchant for war-scene photojournalism. Born early last century, Frisell died in 1989, leaving behind a legacy of famous portraits of personalities, World War II still and groundbreaking fashion photography. The level of clarity in her images is incredible, given how hard it is to achieve.
2. Sally Mann
Yet another world-famous female photographer, Sally Mann’s black and white art caused a good dose of controversy in its day. First off, she became well-known for the photographic series of portraits featuring her children. Critics rushed to say that the images were excessively sexual, but there is a definitely special sense of beauty to them. Mann’s body of work also includes a series of rather shocking portraits of corpses.
3. Nick Brandt
Yet another creator of iconic black and white art, Nick Brandt is a photographer famous for the superb pictural quality of his images of animals. His book of animal photography, “On This Earth”, launched in 2005 put him on the map as an extremely gifted artist. Nowadays, his pictures grace desktops everywhere, although, at the time, he, too, caused controversy, as many critics accused him of having forged his photos.
4. Larry Towell
Towell, a photographer famous for his black and white art, has been quoted to say, “I feel that my subjects choose me rather than me them. All the projects I do are about people and issues that I care about.” He specializes in photojournalism and the featured image is particularly famous in its genre. It is called “Day of the Dead” and was snapped in 1989, during a local festival in El Salvador. It is a poignant illustration of the endemic of child labor that still mars developing countries.
5. Michele Clement
Michele is an up-and-coming photographer, winner of the 2007 Black and White Spider Awards. Michele’s creation won out in the face of great competition. Her works, featuring animals, landscapes, portraiture and surreal themes were evaluated as the very best by an extensive panel of judges, comprising experienced photographers from around the world.
6. Arndt Laude
Arndt Laude creates black and white art with such precision, and with a very orderly, geometric sense of aesthetics. This particular photo snapped by the German artist also displays his amazing sense of timing. However, it’s not all about luck – a gifted photographer will also know just the right angle at which to take the picture, as is the case here.
7. Elliott Erwitt
Yet another legendary maker of black and white art, Elliott Erwitt was born over eighty years ago in Paris. During the span of his lengthy and adventurous life, he continuously snapped black and white photos, with a penchant for street photography and candid ironic moments. His images are always more than what meets the eye, and this is probably the reason why he’s a celebrated Magnum photographer.
8. Rodney Smith
Rodney Smith is a weirdo! No, actually, he is a highly versatile image artist, best known for his surreal, absurdist, even, photography. There is a very cheeky sense of playfulness to his black and white art – though he does achieve great results in color, too.
9. Ralph Gibson
On display in Kiryu, Japan, this iconic image is titled “Staircase” and authored by Ralph Gibson. Gibson is a highly influential photographer for an entire generation of artists passionate about black and white art. He excels at dramatic, albeit geometric high-contrast images, in which a minimalist composition is key.
10. Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams is perhaps the best known photographer in the world, in matters of black and white art. Beloved former US President James E. Carter described him as, “At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been a visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on Earth.” Throughout the course of his extraordinary career, Adams took spectacular landscape photos, snapping light like no other. The featured photo is titled ‘Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn.’