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Black and white Photography

Black and white photography is today one of countless photographic techniques and yet it was as at one time, the only type of photography available. This is the reason why it often tends to be associated with historical works and a vintage feel.

In the 1830s, Nièpce discovered how to print images onto metal plates. When he died in 1833, Louis Daguerre, followed by Francois Arago, continued to develop his research, resulting in the invention of the daguerreotype which consisted of an image printed onto a silver plate when exposed to the light. Together they invented photography.

The first black and white photos began to appear. Initially used for research purposes, photography started to spread as daguerreotype studios opened everywhere. Black and white portraits immortalised the faces of the upper middle classes and would later be used to capture all members of society. Celebrities were also a popular subject choice and many photographers specialised in taking their portraits, as Jean-Loup Sieff did all throughout his career almost a century after the invention of photography.

The first coloured photographs soon followed. The technique was invented as early as 1860 but was not put to use until a century later. In the meantime, many unforgettable artists began to demonstrate their talents for art photography. Street photography, for example, was a key trend during the 20th century, with major photographers such as Robert Doisneau, Brassi and Henri Cartier-Bresson capturing the urban landscape of the time. All three were masters of taking candid photos. They succeeded in making fleeting moments last forever in monochrome images. Sometimes humorous, sometimes romantic, or even just a little bizarre, they take us back in time to days gone by. Looking at such rare and fragile moments can be like going through old postcards from the past, and although we enjoy looking at them, they can provoke a sense of nostalgia and melancholy.

In the United States, the humanist Walker Evans led the way for black and white photography, capturing the daily life of modern America with his analogue camera, whether it be in the New York subway or on the highways of the Deep South. A little later, Robert Frank photographed the faces of America and the American people with his remarkable black and white shots, recognisable thanks to his highly distinctive photographic technique and composition.

Black and white photography isn’t just limited to representing daily life. As Ansel Adams demonstrates, it can also be used to capture the most magnificent landscapes. Black and white images are ideal for long-exposure photography, as the combination of the two makes it seem as if time is gently floating by. Michael Kenna and Arnaud Bertrande are two examples of photographers who excel in this domain.

It is easy to be fascinated by how perfectly the two colours complement each other in certain images. We often associate black with a sense of sadness and nothingness whilst white is suggestive of light and hope (although the Western signification of the colour white contrasts with that of other cultures, for example in Japan, white symbolises death). The combination of the two shades highlights the contrast and accentuates the shapes in the image with elegance and simplicity. It often draws our attention to a rather unique subject and our perception of it can vary depending on the chosen shades and centring. It is often used to create a sense of nostalgia and history to convey a timeless message that seems frozen in time.

Travel back in time with Artsper’s collection of black and white limited edition art photographs, available in big and small formats, from artists including Brno Del Zou, Bert Stern, Ellen Von Unwert, Karl-Martin Holzhäuzer, Wang Wusheng, Lee Jeffries and Hervé Gloaguen.We also recommend Herve Hall’s images of the Brooklyn Bridge and the beautiful sepia photos of the Eiffel Tower by Jean-Paul Lubliner.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Fine Art Photographs

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James Sparshatt, La dama de la plaza, Photography

James Sparshatt

La dama de la plaza, 2000
13.8 x 13.8 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$853

Lionel le Jeune, Rock n roll, Photography

Lionel le Jeune

Rock n roll, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$683

John Kenny, Malasso, Photography

John Kenny

Malasso, 2009
26.4 x 17.7 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$1,139

Alain Longeaud, Ivresse de la vitesse, Photography

Alain Longeaud

Ivresse de la vitesse, 1974
25.6 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$1,489

Cécile Plaisance, Steve & Faye, Photography

Cécile Plaisance

Steve & Faye, 2017
37.4 x 49.2 x 2 inch
Photography

$14,130

Ricky Cohete, Untitled., Photography

Ricky Cohete

Untitled., 2021
30 x 20 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$2,222

Jean-Michel Voge, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Daughter China Moses, Paris, Photography

Jean-Michel Voge

Dee Dee Bridgewater and Daughter China Moses, Paris, 1987
24 x 17 inch
Photography

$2,000

Alexander Benz, Styled, Photography

Alexander Benz

Styled, 2021
15.7 x 15.7 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$571

Mathieu Puga, Les pensées, Photography

Mathieu Puga

Les pensées, 2021
29.5 x 19.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$619

Gonçalo Martins, D'Arens Cliff in Fog, Algarve, Photography

Gonçalo Martins

D'Arens Cliff in Fog, Algarve, 2012
7.5 x 7.5 x 0 inch
Photography

$137

Monica Denevan, Convergence, Photography

Monica Denevan

Convergence, 2011
34.3 x 34.3 inch
Photography

$4,299

Marino Parisotto, La Douce Obsession Totale 6_bw, Photography

Marino Parisotto

La Douce Obsession Totale 6_bw, 2016
11.8 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$1,241

Antoine Buttafoghi, Kalaallit Nunaat 01, Photography

Antoine Buttafoghi

Kalaallit Nunaat 01, 2017
23.6 x 35.4 inch
Photography

$1,489

Laurence Winram, Leap of Faith, Photography

Laurence Winram

Leap of Faith, 2012
23.4 x 23.4 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$688

Masahisa Fukase, Nayoro, Contemporary Japanese Photography, Photography

Masahisa Fukase

Nayoro, Contemporary Japanese Photography, 1977
13 x 19 inch
Photography

$1,500

Emanuele Cucuzza, WhatEyeAm I, Photography

Emanuele Cucuzza

WhatEyeAm I, 2011
35.4 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,241

Patrick Betbeder, Changement de Perspective, Photography

Patrick Betbeder

Changement de Perspective, 2020
78.7 x 55.1 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$3,723

Jesus Chamizo, Palacios Tribute 2, Photography

Jesus Chamizo

Palacios Tribute 2, 2015
49.2 x 31.5 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$2,308

Shigeichi Nagano, Monk of Kita Kamakura, Contemporary Japanese Photography, Photography

Shigeichi Nagano

Monk of Kita Kamakura, Contemporary Japanese Photography, 1950
19 x 13 inch
Photography

$1,500

Michel Monteaux, Un_Still, Photography

Michel Monteaux

Un_Still, 2020
23.2 x 23.2 inch
Photography

$2,110

Jacques Boumendil, Richard Wright_ Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, Photography

Jacques Boumendil

Richard Wright_ Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, 1971
11.8 x 15.7 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$807

Charles Brabin, Leaf Veins III, Photography

Charles Brabin

Leaf Veins III, 2015
11.8 x 16.5 x 0 inch
Photography

$251

Tanguy Mendrisse, Before the mess, Photography

Tanguy Mendrisse

Before the mess, 2019
9.4 x 11.8 x 0 inch
Photography

$174

Feng Hatat, Ombre et lumière III, Photography

Feng Hatat

Ombre et lumière III, 2014
18.9 x 12.6 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$559 $621

Cécile Baldewyns, Fairy, Photography

Cécile Baldewyns

Fairy, 2014
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$869

Pierrot Men, Mananara, Madagascar, 2014, Photography

Pierrot Men

Mananara, Madagascar, 2014, 2016
11.8 x 17.7 inch
Photography

$2,606

Olivier Le Brun, Mada 2, Photography

Olivier Le Brun

Mada 2, 2000
11.8 x 17.7 inch
Photography

$1,309

Our recommendations Gerry Cranham, White Hart Lane, Photography

Gerry Cranham

White Hart Lane, 1964
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,862

Maud Chalard, Lost & Found, Photography

Maud Chalard

Lost & Found, 2019
7.9 x 11.8 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$434

Black Sheep, Worth the Wait, Photography

Black Sheep

Worth the Wait, 2020
29.5 x 23.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$670 $745

Ed Reddon, Banana leaves #1, Photography

Ed Reddon

Banana leaves #1, 2020
8.3 x 5.5 inch
Photography

Sold out

Samzaï, Au pied des grues, Photography

Samzaï

Au pied des grues, 2019
11.8 x 17.3 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$248

Mutines, Lily smoke, Photography

Mutines

Lily smoke, 2019
29.5 x 19.7 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$782

Muriel Despiau, Maheo Road, Photography

Muriel Despiau

Maheo Road, 2019
7.5 x 11.4 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$137

Vanessa Vercel, Eiffel oiseaux, Photography

Vanessa Vercel

Eiffel oiseaux, 2020
27.6 x 41.3 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$1,613

Mihaela Ivanova, Svyatibor, Photography

Mihaela Ivanova

Svyatibor, 2011
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$757

Tenesh Webber, Spiral II, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Spiral II, 2001
20 x 20 inch
Photography

$4,012

Jorg Karg, Pont Neuf - Small Format, Photography

Jorg Karg

Pont Neuf - Small Format, 2017
31.5 x 23.6 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$1,986

Our recommendations Serge Mendjisky, Statue de la Liberté HC, Photography

Serge Mendjisky

Statue de la Liberté HC, 2008
59.1 x 26 x 2 inch
Photography

$14,893

Baptiste Blanchett, Bande d'ordures, Photography

Baptiste Blanchett

Bande d'ordures, 2018
19.7 x 29.5 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$993

Sonac, Le Lama en Urbex, Photography

Sonac

Le Lama en Urbex, 2018
23.6 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,365

Jodi Bieber, Cardiff by night, Photography

Jodi Bieber

Cardiff by night, 2003
27.6 x 19.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$3,277

Our recommendations Cristina Aldehuela, Lelo 1, Photography

Cristina Aldehuela

Lelo 1, 2014
15.7 x 23.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,613

Luuk De Haan, Wellicht 3, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Wellicht 3, 2013
11.7 x 8.3 inch
Photography

$645

Seb Janiak, Gravity liquid 58 (Large), Photography

Seb Janiak

Gravity liquid 58 (Large), 2015
63 x 49.4 inch
Photography

$8,598

Jean-Loup Gautreau, Agnès Varda - Les plages d'Agnès, Photography

Jean-Loup Gautreau

Agnès Varda - Les plages d'Agnès, 2008
11.8 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$372

José Nicolas, La Sainte Victoire, Photography

José Nicolas

La Sainte Victoire, 2019
8.7 x 8.7 inch
Photography

$410

Our recommendations Karine Paoli, Têtes d'Affiches #3, Photography

Karine Paoli

Têtes d'Affiches #3, 2001
48 x 29.9 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$2,482

Ben Thouard, Au vol, Photography

Ben Thouard

Au vol, 2019
31.5 x 47.2 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$3,413

Anthony Mirial, Blessures de guerre, Photography

Anthony Mirial

Blessures de guerre, 2015
49.2 x 33.5 inch
Photography

$11,170

Laurent Gudin, Hand I, Photography

Laurent Gudin

Hand I, 2004
15.7 x 15.7 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,986

Emmanuelle Barbaras, Assemblée femmes Dakar, Photography

Emmanuelle Barbaras

Assemblée femmes Dakar, 2018
17.7 x 15 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$869

Yuriko Takagi, SEI P-44, Photography

Yuriko Takagi

SEI P-44, 1991
13 x 13 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$2,234

André Le Mauff, L'arbre, n°1/2, Photography

André Le Mauff

L'arbre, n°1/2, 2018
9.8 x 9.8 inch
Photography

$496

Michel Di Maggio, Poséidon (Christophe Charbonnel), Photography

Michel Di Maggio

Poséidon (Christophe Charbonnel), 2018
43.3 x 37 x 2 inch
Photography

$2,730

Bert Stern, Marilyn in Vogue (1962), Photography

Bert Stern

Marilyn in Vogue (1962), 2011
18.9 x 13 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$2,470

Helmut Newton, Fashion Photograph, Paris 1976, Photography

Helmut Newton

Fashion Photograph, Paris 1976, 1980
16.1 x 10.6 inch
Photography

$1,105

Christophe Battifero, Under the Bridge, Photography

Christophe Battifero

Under the Bridge, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$521

Arturo Fermandois, Éclipse, Photography

Arturo Fermandois

Éclipse, 2017
15.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$968

Ian Bradshaw, Reagan and the queen, Photography

Ian Bradshaw

Reagan and the queen, 1982
15.7 x 23.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,489

Alain Schroeder, Kid Jockey I, Photography

Alain Schroeder

Kid Jockey I, 2017
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,862

Uwe Ommer, Foot de rue, Photography

Uwe Ommer

Foot de rue, 1962
15.7 x 18.9 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,489

Pol Lujan, Chien - Christian Dior, Photography

Pol Lujan

Chien - Christian Dior, 1990
19.7 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$993

LaO PaZ, Perdida en la ciudad, Photography

LaO PaZ

Perdida en la ciudad, 2011
15.7 x 23.6 x 2 inch
Photography

$869

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