Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #156: Black and White

Southern magnolia fully open

Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White, too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.

Coco Chanel

This week, Anne Sandler, photographer and creator of Slow Shutter Speed, challenges us to find and share photos on the theme of black and white. (Be sure to check out her post for marvelous information on how she creates her photo masterpieces.) For this theme, I’m sharing flowers in black and white. You may marvel, as I did, at all the processes Anne uses to create her masterpieces (and she tells you how!), but my technique is a simple one: I use a filter after downloading the photos to my computer. Easy.

Perhaps my favorite flowers that I’ve shared previously are the White Star White Magnolias that bloom each spring right at my back door. They’re the first blooms I see (sometimes as early as March), and I love to move in closely with my camera as if I’m getting to know them better! Seeing them with raindrops is an added bonus. Now that I look at them in black and white, I can detect even more details in the arrangement, patterns, textures, and sheer beauty of these petals and stems.

Looking side by side at color photos and then black and white ones, I can see benefits of both techniques. On the one hand, delicate colors grab my attention, but photographs in black and white reveal shadows and light in different ways, highlighting subtle details that aren’t as evident when I’m looking at color.

White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.

G. K. Chesterton

Also interesting in black and white are Southern magnolias. So mysterious these blooms are — as if the broad petals remain folded to protect the beauty within. But then, when the time is right, they open wide, allowing us to see the hidden attributes previously unseen.

Black is the absence of all color. White is the presence of all colors. I suppose life must be one or the other.

Mary Balough

And finally, sunflowers — those sunny yellow petals and dark brown centers standing gracefully tall charm us all. Yes, I love the color – especially when I see a full field of these sunny gems — but they, too, are quite special in black and white. Dramatic. Stately. Poised.

Sunflower in Black and White

Sunflower from the fields at Forks of the River, Knoxville, Tennessee

So, when you look at flower photos, which do you prefer? Color? Or black and white? It really does boil down to personal preference.

Thanks for taking a flower tour with me today inspired by Anne Sandler’s beautiful post. And for more entries, please head to Slow Shutter Speed for great takes on the theme.

Next week, I hope you’ll join me as I kick off Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #156: Getting Away. If you’d like to contribute, start looking for favorite destinations near and far and things you like to do once you’re there! Looking forward to seeing you!

Travel in perfect harmony, in color or black and white,


39 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #156: Black and White

  1. Pingback: Photographs in Monochrome – Batz Gallery

  2. Albatz Travel Adventures

    Thank you so much for this inspiring post. I had a small epiphany looking your post: flowers that are mostly white look stunning in black and white – I have always preferred colour and didn’t even bother to do a post for this challenge but after seeing your magnolias I see I need to rethink my “always in colour’ policy…

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for telling me this. I really hadn’t thought of looking at flowers in black and white, but even though I like color better, the B&W ones have a unique effect. It’s fun looking at things in different ways. Right?

  3. Anonymous

    Great photos, Rusha. I really like black and white! My fav was the one with raindrops, but the sunflower was close. Thanks. –Curt

  4. Toonsarah

    Those close-ups of the Southern magnolias bring out their almost sculptural forms and are very lovely 🙂 Thanks for the heads-up about next week’s them – I’m looking forward to it!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for mentioning the magnolias. I think there are few prettier flowers anywhere, and my subdivision is covered in these trees and blossoms! Looking forward to what you’ll post this coming week for our theme of Getting Away!

  5. Amy

    Beautiful close up floral images in black and white. Wonderful examples and comparisons, Rusha. The last image is my favorite!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It’s much easier to see them in black and white now that there are filters you can use after you take the pictures. Even an iPhone makes good photos more interesting that way. Thanks for your comments.

  6. Nancy Stanley

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs! Thankful I don’t have to pick one or the other because I love both! 🌻

  7. sustainabilitea

    These are beautiful shots, especially (to me) the macros and that last set and last individual photo of the sunflower are spectacular. Black and white or color? I like both. For many things, I love color but who can argue with Ansel Adams and photos like Anne’s and yours?

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Well this is a first! My name is in the same sentence with Ansel Adams and Anne !!! What a day!
      Thanks so much fir your comments. I, too, like color better, but looking at black and white has been good for me. I’m seeing new things already. Appreciate you!!!

  8. Anne Sandler

    Beautiful floral examples Rusha! Your whites are exceptional. And thanks for the color vs black and white comparisons. I usually spend about 10 minutes max on processing a photo. My workflow may seem longer! I’m interested in what filter you use and in what program. Can you tell us?? I’m looking forward to next week’s challenge.

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