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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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Grzegorz Sikorski, Would you swim with me? XIII, Photography

Grzegorz Sikorski

Would you swim with me? XIII, 2021
20.7 x 27.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$240

Miguel Winograd, Lagunas de Buitrago Chingaza, Photography

Miguel Winograd

Lagunas de Buitrago Chingaza, 2018
11 x 14 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$900

Alain Le Chapelier, The Woman with the Gulls, Photography

Alain Le Chapelier

The Woman with the Gulls, 2007
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$986

Cody Choi, Dancer: Flora #2, Photography

Cody Choi

Dancer: Flora #2, 2016
30 x 40 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$1,766

Valérie Donzelli, De Myrha à Babylone - Jeanne visage baissé, Photography

Valérie Donzelli

De Myrha à Babylone - Jeanne visage baissé, 2015
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$759

Quentin DMR, Seth Guecko, Photography

Quentin DMR

Seth Guecko, 2020
11.8 x 7.9 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$367

Leila Boucif, Dans La Lumière De La Nuit, Photography

Leila Boucif

Dans La Lumière De La Nuit, 2017
23.6 x 15.7 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$569

Gonçalo Martins, Ice Block, Iceland, Photography

Gonçalo Martins

Ice Block, Iceland, 2014
7.5 x 7.5 x 0 inch
Photography

$139

Thierry Parhad, Intense | Mikael, Photography

Thierry Parhad

Intense | Mikael, 2009
19.7 x 29.5 x 0.3 inch
Photography

$1,239

Lucia Tallová, Paris Diary, Photography

Lucia Tallová

Paris Diary, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 inch
Photography

$2,277

Pierre-François O, Point de vue, Photography

Pierre-François O

Point de vue, 2020
9.8 x 7.5 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$253

Yves Bordes Lapeyre, Composition avec pont Nr 4, Photography

Yves Bordes Lapeyre

Composition avec pont Nr 4, 2021
11.8 x 17.7 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$759

Edouard de Francisci, El Juell - Serie of Cap de Creuse Cadaqués Spain, Photography

Edouard de Francisci

El Juell - Serie of Cap de Creuse Cadaqués Spain, 2020
19.1 x 23.8 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$632

Alexander Benz, Styled, Photography

Alexander Benz

Styled, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$2,277

Philippe Gras, Nina Simone au Festival Panafricain, Alger - série Jazz, Photography

Philippe Gras

Nina Simone au Festival Panafricain, Alger - série Jazz, 1969
15.7 x 23.6 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$1,201

Maxime Vignaud, He will take you by the hand and accompany you, Photography

Maxime Vignaud

He will take you by the hand and accompany you, 2020
19.7 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$506

Patrick Artinian, François Mitterrand à Solutré, Photography

Patrick Artinian

François Mitterrand à Solutré, 1990
11.8 x 15.7 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$885

Greg Mascot, Bored Dog, Photography

Greg Mascot

Bored Dog, 2017
7.7 x 5.7 inch
Photography

$177 $253

Jean Claude Figenwald, Place de la Bastille le 10 Mai 1981, Photography

Jean Claude Figenwald

Place de la Bastille le 10 Mai 1981, 1981
19.7 x 27.6 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$885

Tanguy Mendrisse, Before the mess, Photography

Tanguy Mendrisse

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

$177

Feng Hatat, Ombre et lumière III, Photography

Feng Hatat

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

$632

Man Ray, Portrait of Francis Picabia, Photography

Man Ray

Portrait of Francis Picabia, 1935
10.6 x 8.3 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$40,472

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Project for a Public Building's Packaging, Photography

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Project for a Public Building's Packaging, 1971
21.3 x 27.6 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$6,324

Lucien Clergue, Maïs, Le Marais D'Arles, Photography

Lucien Clergue

Maïs, Le Marais D'Arles, 1960
9.9 x 6.5 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$3,035

Laurent Gudin, Lamb I, Photography

Laurent Gudin

Lamb I, 2009
18.9 x 18.9 x 0 inch
Photography

$2,466

Pierrot Men, Mananara, Madagascar, 2014, Photography

Pierrot Men

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

$2,656

Maud Chalard, Lost & Found, Photography

Maud Chalard

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

$443

Olivier Le Brun, Mada 2, Photography

Olivier Le Brun

Mada 2, 2000
11.8 x 17.7 inch
Photography

$1,334

Muriel Despiau, Maheo Road, Photography

Muriel Despiau

Maheo Road, 2019
7.5 x 11.4 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$139

Mihaela Ivanova, Svyatibor, Photography

Mihaela Ivanova

Svyatibor, 2011
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$771

Tenesh Webber, Spiral II, Photography

Tenesh Webber

Spiral II, 2001
20 x 20 inch
Photography

$4,121

Ed Reddon, Banana leaves #10, Photography

Ed Reddon

Banana leaves #10, 2020
8.3 x 5.5 inch
Photography

$114

Jorg Karg, A Fragile Glow, Photography

Jorg Karg

A Fragile Glow, 2019
51.2 x 43.3 x 0 inch
Photography

$4,047

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

$15,177

Sonac, Le Lama en Urbex, Photography

Sonac

Le Lama en Urbex, 2018
23.6 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,391

Wang XiaoZhou, Fleur 5, Photography

Wang XiaoZhou

Fleur 5, 2017
11.8 x 15.7 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$569

Luuk De Haan, Wellicht 3, Photography

Luuk De Haan

Wellicht 3, 2013
11.7 x 8.3 inch
Photography

$662

Baptiste Blanchett, Bande d'ordures, Photography

Baptiste Blanchett

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

$1,012

Faith XLVII, The Unbound 1 (L), Photography

Faith XLVII

The Unbound 1 (L), 2018
35 x 29 inch
Photography

$2,200

Seb Janiak, Gravity liquid 58 (Large), Photography

Seb Janiak

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

$8,831

Jodi Bieber, Cardiff by night, Photography

Jodi Bieber

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

$3,339

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

$379

Our recommendations Cristina Aldehuela, Lelo 1, Photography

Cristina Aldehuela

Lelo 1, 2014
15.7 x 23.6 x 0 inch
Photography

$1,644

Claudio Palmieri, Figura Fitomorfa, Photography

Claudio Palmieri

Figura Fitomorfa, 2006
38.2 x 29.5 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$5,691

Michel Di Maggio, Poséidon (Christophe Charbonnel), Photography

Michel Di Maggio

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

$2,782

Christophe Battifero, Under the Bridge, Photography

Christophe Battifero

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

$531

Our recommendations Sébastien Chauchot, Céréales 3, Photography

Sébastien Chauchot

Céréales 3, 2019
15.7 x 13.8 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$398 $443

Samzaï, Au pied des grues, Photography

Samzaï

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

$253

José Nicolas, La Sainte Victoire, Photography

José Nicolas

La Sainte Victoire, 2019
8.7 x 8.7 inch
Photography

$417

Yuki Onodera, Below Orpheus I. The Missing Person No. 3, Photography

Yuki Onodera

Below Orpheus I. The Missing Person No. 3, 2006
57.9 x 47.2 x 0.2 inch
Photography

$15,809

Vanessa Vercel, Arc de triomphe, Photography

Vanessa Vercel

Arc de triomphe, 2020
27.6 x 41.3 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$1,644

Yuriko Takagi, SEI P-44, Photography

Yuriko Takagi

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

$2,277

Ben Thouard, Au vol, Photography

Ben Thouard

Au vol, 2019
31.5 x 47.2 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$3,478

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

$506

Bert Stern, Marilyn in Vogue (1962), Photography

Bert Stern

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

$2,517

Arturo Fermandois, Éclipse, Photography

Arturo Fermandois

Éclipse, 2017
15.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$986

Ian Bradshaw, Reagan and the queen, Photography

Ian Bradshaw

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

$1,518

Richard Melloul, Sammy Davis, Photography

Richard Melloul

Sammy Davis, 1995
70.9 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch
Photography

$8,221

Alain Schroeder, Kid Jockey I, Photography

Alain Schroeder

Kid Jockey I, 2017
15.7 x 23.6 inch
Photography

$1,897

Uwe Ommer, Foot de rue, Photography

Uwe Ommer

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

$1,518

Anthony Mirial, Blessures de guerre, Photography

Anthony Mirial

Blessures de guerre, 2015
49.2 x 33.5 inch
Photography

$11,383

Emmanuelle Barbaras, Assemblée femmes Dakar, Photography

Emmanuelle Barbaras

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

$885

Jean-François Talivez, Power struggle, Photography

Jean-François Talivez

Power struggle, 1992
23.6 x 15.7 inch
Photography

$1,113

Bastien Bonnarme, Fred David - Dolphin Bodysurf, Photography

Bastien Bonnarme

Fred David - Dolphin Bodysurf, 2017
31.5 x 47.2 x 0.1 inch
Photography

$1,897

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