The New York Series…Part 3

Top of the Rock security guard

New York Public Library

Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn side

Central Park tunnel

I am a huge fan of black and white photography. Most of the photographs that are not mine and that hang on my walls at home are black and white. My favorite photographs of my father’s are his black and whites. I consider Ansel Adams a hero, along with Vivian Maier and Dorothea Lange. And yet I rarely create a black and white image myself.

On my recent trip to New York I set about to change all that. It was a clear intention of mine to come back with some images that looked good in black and white.

It really isn’t that difficult in this city. Many New York images cry out for black and white treatment, since so much available subject matter is architecture, cityscapes and street photography. Remember Woody Allen’s Manhattan? Iconic New York. Shot all in black and white.

I love how black and white photography strips things down to the essentials. Colours can often be distracting and may even make a photo look messy and disjointed. In black and white images, the subject is much easier to zero in on.

Black and white is also superb for revealing great composition and texture. It allows you to focus on shapes, light and shadows, lines and perspective. Some images that look positively banal in colour take on a new life and importance in black and white.

Black and white images can be more dramatic and authoritative looking, especially if combined with great lighting. Think of Karsh’s portrait of Churchill.

And you can’t ignore the classy and exquisite feel of black and white images. They are often more timeless looking.  My parents’ wedding photos were done in black and white and they still look classic and fabulous to this day.

In all my times in New York, I had never seen the Manhattan Skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge Park or shot the Brooklyn Bridge itself. So those shots went on the shot list, and that trip went on the agenda. The day I went to Brooklyn was quite grey and dreary so the resulting images had little or no colour to begin with. They worked perfectly in black and white.

I have only begun to process the keepers from my trip to New York City, but I’m hopeful there are a few more that will lend themselves to a black and white treatment — and some that may even make it to my walls!

Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park

18 thoughts on “The New York Series…Part 3

  1. Pingback: 10 Truths That Make You a Writer – Frugal Travels

  2. Yes, Sherry, I agree with all your wrote about B/W – it is ideal for architecture, and emphasizing details and shapes. I love it, and find it far more complimentary to most decorating of a room. The less color popping out on the walls, the easier on the eye. Beautiful work!

  3. You know already how much I admire that perfectly captured portrait, but what a pleasure to see it together with other images that together capture what so many of us think of when we hear ‘New York’. I agree that black and white photography is classy and timeless. Even so, I haven’t had the passion for it that you have… until now! Your work is inspiring, Sherry.

  4. I feel the same as you Sherry, just love b/w and I don’t do it enough. So glad you set a challenge for yourself to do it while on your travels. Each image has a quality that is lovely and stands on it’s on that is what I like about b/w.

  5. Sherry very nice shots, B&W really works so well for these. In particular I like the stone arch, the texture, the light on the trees in the background, perfect. This shot is a classic, like it could have been taken in the 50’s, great job !

  6. I especially like that first photo. A really lovely portrait. I’m not sure about black and white photography, but I do love portraits in monochrome. I do very little b&w. I adore colour so much! Though I do agree what the others said about street photography!

  7. I too love black and white photography and NYC always looks it’s best in monochrome…as all your images are certainly proof of that! I can just imagine these images printed big and displayed beautifully somewhere. I recently went to see an exhibit of Vivian Meier’s photos and I love how they were all displayed on dark gray walls…it was really of course were her photos!

  8. I have always thought B&W and street photography were a marriage made in photo heaven. It gives architectural details such timelessness. These are great, Sherry!

  9. Wonderful shots. Love the B and W idea. My son lives in NYC and I have lots of shots from my last trip. You have encouraged me to revisit them and look at them differently. You are always inspiring Sherry! Thanks for sharing

  10. oh yes, as you know, I completely agree with you about black & white photographs. They are definitely my favourite. In fact the two largest photographs of mine that are hanging on my walls, each is black and white and they are the ones that get the most compliments (of the ones on the walls). I’ve been putting together a ‘book’ of strictly black and white photos … my biggest problem has been narrowing them down!! 🙂
    Anyway, I love that you’re converting some of these and definitely appreciate each of these you’ve shown us so far. Lovely work.

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