Black and White Flowers – A Study in Form


This is a guest collection by Tom Dinning. Download Tom's latest book, “Learning to See” for free here.

They say you can win the heart of a woman with a bunch of colourful flowers. My success rate in that endeavour has been limited so I'm not one to comment. But I do know that photographers are particularly drawn to the colourful displays found in their back yard, parks or botanical gardens.

I am also aware that sometimes the colour is so intense we can miss another layer of beauty hidden within the sepals, petals, and anthers; that of FORM.

By removing the colour it is possible to see this Form more clearly. Black and white photography enables the viewer to concentrate on other aspects of composition and detail without the strong dominance of colour.

Here are a few from my collection that might encourage you to give it a try.

All images have been converted from RAW files by a combination of programs including Lightroom, Photoshop and Camera RAW converter.

Starting with flower clusters we can find patterns quite intriguing.

Getting a little closer can result in a look into a whole new world of form and texture.

Still life with flowers as the subject can be rewarding as well. This gives you an opportunity to really concentrate on the form.

Get the macro lens out and yet another layer is revealed.

…to a point where abstraction is all we have left.

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Help!! I'm down here. In the dungeon. Save me!!!

These are great! I love the last 7 or so especially. I had not really thought of black and white for flowers, but it works…and quite well!

As some-one who does a lot of flower photography my first reaction when seeing this thread was ‘how sad’ where’s all the beautiful natures colour gone!!……

…however having looked at this thread a few times, read what has been written I do have to say this most certainly is another option that I should perhaps consider.

I’m especially liking the idea of B/W for those flowers that are past their best as somehow B/W seems to fit this idea with showing that even when past their best there is still beauty in the textures and yes they also do have some attractive art form!!

Interesting read which has given me something to think about for the coming summer months and my garden is full of flowers!!

I’m a big fan of shooting flowers in B&W. I was initially inspired from checking out photos by Robert Mapplethorpe, and the way he focuses on the form in B&W. I even was a finalist in a photo competition at the photo school I’ve been taking classes part time at:

It’s a great practice to simplify. I only add colour if it adds to the photo.

Amazing flower photography,have not seen such great b&w photos in a long time especially flowers. Great work and now I have something to shoot for and try, thank-you

These examples are incredible. Although I love flowers in color, I am also quite drawn into monochromatic ones because it allows us to focus on the composition and the form, more than the colors.

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