Life In Black and White.
“Black and white is salt and pepper of colors, for life tastes bland without them.”
As a designer one of my favorite subjects is color. I could spend all day creating color palettes based on a variety of things - just for pure relaxation and enjoyment. But there's something I find very mysterious and appealing about black and white...and all the shades of gray in between.
Back in the mid-1980s, before smart phones and digital cameras, I used to spend a lot of time in the darkroom on the University of Oregon campus after taking a glass on photography for journalists (journalism was my first career). There was nothing more fascinating that unrolling the camera film, submersing it in various chemicals, choosing a print from the enlarger, then putting the magic paper into the magic developer tray and then watching the image appear. If you've never experienced the enchantment of making art in the darkroom (despite the smelly chemicals), then you should absolutely put it on your bucket list.
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”
I've often used black and white photography when I've wanted to make a bold statement for my business. Above, one of my models for my clothing line was photographed in a black and white blouse and skirt. Far more dramatic than a color photo, I think.
In interiors, black and white never go out of style. Going solo, or adding a single pop of color makes a room both sophisticated and fun. This striking black and white room by Salcito Custom Homes is a wonderful example of how black and white can make a statement in this glorious entryway.
Black and white are the colors of sophistication. Think of the famous Black and White Ball held on November 28, 1966 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Hosted by author Truman Capote as a masquerade event, the famous soiree was the inspiration for black and white balls for decades to come.
And what woman's wardrobe is complete without the "little black dress"? Something to throw on for a last minute cocktail party, or to wear out for a fancy dinner, paired with a string of pearls and high heels.
“Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world.” – Joel Sternfeld
Black and white isn't always serious. I took this photograph a couple of winters ago of a pair of snowman salt shakers, adrift in my back yard. Part comical, part forlorn, the mood simply could have not been pulled off by a color photograph.
Shadows, lighting, contrast, texture, shapes, patterns are all the more distinct in black and white. Without color to distract you, the feeling you get from looking at a black and white photograph, a room decorated in black and white, or a black and white outfit is so much different than you get when looking at these things in color. Black and white is bold, sophisticated and classic.
“Women think of all colors except the absence of color.I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” –Coco Chanel
Even a small vignette of ordinary objects in my home becomes a little more extraordinary in black and white.
The elegant, no-nonsense, bold combination of black and white will always be among my favorite of things - whether in fashion, photography or interior design. Black and white communicates. It leaves an impression. It leaves an impression.
How much black and white do you have in YOUR world?