When I started photography, I spent hours at the library. I’d pour over books about black and white photography. It opened my eyes to the potential of the black and white aesthetic. And it motivated me to try new techniques and styles.
Thanks to the rise of social media, we can now learn from the old masters and explore talented contemporary photographers at the click of a button.
Need inspiration for your own photography? Check out some of my favorite (not so famous) and famous black and white photographers to follow.
9. Tim Booth and the Black And White Aesthetic
I never quite know what I’m going to see next from Tim Booth. His versatile work encompasses portraiture, storytelling, and dreamy landscapes. And they’re executed with immaculate technique.
I love how Booth explores shutter speed to evoke particular emotions. All without taking attention away from the story.
Booth’s approach to light on the human body is also stunning. Check out his Circus portfolio. Whenever I need motivation to improve my technique, I look through Booth’s work on his Instagram and website. I always feel inspired to persevere.
8. Architecture Photography Inspiration With Julia Anna Gospodarou
She features grand buildings from all around the world on her social media and website. I still find her work inspirational even if I’m photographing a tiny house in the middle of nowhere.
I enjoy seeing behind-the-scenes photos of Gospodarou and her gear on Instagram. These provide a human element to her architectural work.
Every now and then she posts serene landscapes which contrast with her fine art architecture photography. Check out Gospodarou’s photographs and be inspired to turn your photography into art.
7. Doc Ross
Ross has photographed around the world. It’s his black and white images of people and buildings in my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand that first resonated with me.
His work in the city before and after the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes has provided a unique archive of architecture and street photography. They remind us of how we were as a community, and where we’re going.
This varied and down to earth collection shows us beauty in the details. It always motivates me to seek out the decisive moment.
6. Adela Filip – Photographing Texture And Light
For otherworldly black and white landscapes and portraits, check out Filip’s photography on Instagram. Her flawless photos celebrate textures, tones, shadows, and light in nature.
People sometimes feature in her work, but they tend to be secondary to the overall mood that Filip creates. I love the softness of her black and white photos. They provide a refreshing change from over sharpened images sometimes found on social media.
After you’ve seen Filip’s photos, you’ll want to buy ski shoes and venture into the snowy hills with your camera and tripod!
5. Nolan Ryan Trowe Photographing With Fresh Perspective
There are some remarkable and clever stories interwoven in Trowe’s black and white photography that he shares on social media. His candid street photography of cities in the United States paints a fascinating picture of contradictions and disparity.
Trowe has paraplegia. Many of his photographs centre around this theme. They incorporate community, power, and activism.
His projects (Devoted, Invisible, Revelations In A Wheelchair) provide viewers with a glimpse into the everyday life of people with disabilities. They are photographed with respect and responsibility.
Everyone has a story to tell about their community. Check out Trowe’s work to get inspired to tell yours.
4. Storytelling By Koen Jacobs
Jacobs is a Belgian photographer who uses his black and white pics beautifully to tell stories. He’s a stickler for light, composition, and form. He announces on his website that gear is not important – something I feel passionate about too.
Jacobs embraces street photography on his Instagram. But check out his Dance series on his website to see a different side of his work.
3. Carina Hedlund
Hedlund is a Swedish photographer whose Instagram is full of humans of all ages, abilities, and genders. She captures vulnerability and joy in black and white. There is a great sense of trust implied between her and her subjects.
Hedlund’s website provides project and colour work. But it’s her unprejudiced street photography in black and white on her Instagram that I’m drawn to. It gives me some faith in humankind!
The openness and sincerity of Hedlund’s photographs suggest that her social media sharing is about her love of photography. Not about earning follows and likes.
2. Moods And Monochrome Photography With Nicolas Decoopman
I enjoy following Decoopman’s black and white photography because of the simplicity of subject matter. He embraces the streets and scenes in northern France with regular nods to reflections and shadows.
Decoopman sets the mood and communicates personality clearly in his photos through composition. It took me some time before I realized that we seldom see a clear view of faces and bodies in his work.
The weather is often a secondary hero in his photographs. Decoopman demonstrates that grey, wet weather is no barrier to photography.
1. Noriaki Kimura and His Quiet Monochrome Photography
If you want to feel meditative, check out Kimura’s breathtaking black and white photographs on Instagram. The quiet and beautifully lit landscapes evoke a sense of calm, even when the clouds look stormy.
He celebrates and respects simple details in his photography such as a smile, water ripples, and petals. It all looks so easy, but we know it’s not!
Kimura has also a separate colour curated Instagram account too. This demonstrates he’s equally at home with colour photography.
Sometimes we get into a creative rut in our black and white photography and need to approach stories and subjects differently.
Photography isn’t just about holding your camera and clicking the shutter. Pour yourself a coffee, put your feet up, and do some online research to take your black and white photos to the next level.