Reflecting on BW Minimalist Photography


Monochrome imagery and a minimal aesthetic make a match made in visual heaven. I became interested in photography thanks to visual consumption. Back in 2007, while studying for my BA, an existential tantrum guided me towards creative expression. These always materialised in the form of written text, but I craved something visual as well. I tried learning the basics of drawing and graphic design and I quickly realised those crafts were simply not made for me. Eventually, while seeking some inspiration, I stumbled upon (really, through that site when it was good) the capabilities of the photographic medium.

Photography resonated so much with me because most of the free time I had during my teenage years was dedicated to reading Tolkien books and gaming on my computer; which by the way, I somewhat built myself. In those early 2000's years, hardware and software were both fascinating worlds to me. They kept me so curious, that I even befriended some older folks who were what we now know as hackers. Great guys indeed, and one of them was a photography enthusiast as well. Coincidence? Who knows… As the scientist I am nowadays, I pose there must be something about digital photography speaking to people like myself — geek folks drawn towards tech — into the enlightened world of electronic gadgets.

Photography was my “eureka” moment later on during my grad-student years; and there was something about black and white, but also about what we call “minimal”. Sayings frequently sprout that “less is more”; and like any other mantra, there's pretty much everything unknown. How exactly does one achieve that sweet spot of getting more out of less? The bitter-sweet answer is that there's no recipe book.

Amidst this sad truth on creativity, I'm a bit in the know of how images trigger our willingness to assign meaning to something. And by the way, there's even a bleeding-edge scientific field making progress on “Visualisation Psychology” right now! For this, I recommend reading images — rather than glimpsing them as the mere background of the infinite-scrolling habit — which will make you understand better certain types or genres in photography.

In other words, increasing the quality of our visual nutrition is imperative for us to evolve as photographers. Said that we curated an illustrative set of images that might teach you a thing or two about how to achieve minimal results with the aid of black and white format:

black and white windows
Photo by Vitaly Taranov
black and white sphere
Photo by Luca Bravo
minimal roller coaster black and white
Photo by JC Dela Cuesta
black and white perspective building
Photo by Osman Rana
minimal book tabletop
Photo by Water Journal
black and white window
Photo by Ana Silva
black and white wide open spaces
Photo by Tom Skrabek-Wazynski
black and white ferris wheel
Photo by Siyan Ren
black and white leaf
Photo by Yusuf Evli

We hope studying these striking minimalist images in black and white get your creative juices flowing!

The Better Black And White Guide will ensure you get high-quality images.

black and white toned landscape
Photo by Paula Vermeulen
dark leaves black and whites
Photo by Andrew Neel
black and white building minimal
Photo by Lance Anderson
black and white lonely person
Photo by Matthew Henry
black and white three birds
Photo by Glen Carrie
black and white skyscrapers perspective
Photo by Joel Filipe
black and white staircase
Photo by Kyaw Tun
black telephone white background
Photo by Quino AI
black and white grainy texture
Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak
misty mountain top black and white
Photo by Dave Hoefler

Make sure you take a look at Kent DuFault's Better Black And White Guide. This is a complete step-by-step guide on black-and-white conversions. Which translate into getting everything you need to know about controlling tone and contrast to get the images you want!

Further Reading:

About Author

Federico has a decade of experience in documentary photography, and is a University Professor in photography and research methodology. He's a scientist studying the social uses of photography in contemporary culture who writes about photography and develops documentary projects. Other activities Federico is involved in photography are curation, critique, education, mentoring, outreach and reviews. Get to know him better here.

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