Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Why Black and White?

Nov 03, 2017 - Rachel Jump

As an artist, you are posed with questions surrounding your creative practice that are thoughtful, exhilarating, or even confounding. There is always one particular question that comes to the surface, one that continues to surprise me:

Why black and white?


For me, it has never been a question. I started taking photography classes in the mid-2000’s when art institutions were beginning to replace their color darkrooms with digital labs. Surprisingly, the high school I attended in Concord, Massachusetts only had a black and white darkroom. I shot 35mm black and white film religiously until my junior year of college, where I transitioned to large format photography.


I believe using black and white film enables me to be a more thoughtful and contemplative photographer. Film taught me how to slow down in a manner where I was no longer seeing my subject, but truly feeling the details of my subject. For my current project, I am photographing my family. There is this desire to preserve these precious moments I share with the people I love— a transformation from photographic object to personal relic.


There is a certain sense of intimacy that I feel I can achieve with black and white imagery over any other creative medium. Photographing in black and white allows my audience to focus entirely on the content of my imagery. I understand the historical implications of using black and white film, but I believe that this medium can be revisited and redefined in a contemporary context. I love color film and color photography— my favorite photographers are ones who use color— but for my practice, I believe I am able to achieve a stronger emotional impact by creating black and white images.


For my blog take-over this week, I am going showcase photographers working with black and white imagery, and ask them to respond to a single question:


Why black and white?