I’ve been a black and white fine art photographer for decades, serving the Seattle, San Francisco and New York areas. I got started with a beginning black and white photography class taught by the venerable Frank Espoza and Steve Raskin in San Francisco which taught me the Zone system and how to really expose and capture all the nuances for shadows and highlights. I studied Mapplethorp and Ruth Bernhard’s work by painting the female form and then took a class on photographing nudes of women in 1992. This class was powerful and life changing experience. I was the only woman in the class and realized that there weren’t enough women photographing other women. It was at that moment that I decided to photograph women. I asked my colleagues about turning this into a profession and all of them said, “no woman will pay you to photograph them naked, and certainly, not naked and pregnant.” These were all male colleagues, and they were obviously very wrong. Thank goodness I followed my heart.
I have been an artist as long as I can remember. Ranging from fine art photography, painting, sewing and creating, but I never thought I could do this as a profession. I grew up in a family that wanted me to be a professional either in the fields of banking or medicine. I also was never confident that I could be an artist and actually pay my bills which is how I found photography. It was a beautiful way for me to earn a living as well as capture my artistic side, so I enrolled in graduate school for photojournalism. I knew I could be a newspaper photographer and then also get creative. I sought out the best school which was in Missouri. This education taught me light, composition, working with natural light, and how to capture the moment even when in the middle of very complex social and visual situations. I was taught that the real photos actually occurred before the event or after the event was over. Our instructors were incredibly successful photographers who worked at Life, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek and for major agencies. I was incredibly lucky to have this experience and these individuals mentor me through my early years.
My fine art black and white photography is unlike any other style of traditional photography and I would argue is the very best kind of photography for preserving your family memories for years to come. I approach the work as a photojournalist, artist, and a mom. I want photos that capture your child, your maternity that also transcend the portrait. I strive to have layers of meaning in each photo. I want my images to arrest the viewer. I want to stop the viewer in the tracks, meaning I want your photo to be so amazing that the meaning and emotion can be felt by others who don’t even know you.
Here are my top reasons why I think Black and White photography is the best for family fine art photography.
1. Black and white images allow the viewer to feel authentic emotions not influenced by any color or filters.
As soon as you make a photo black and white, you lose any distractions that could have come along with colorful clothing, super busy patterns or backdrops. It allows you to focus on the subject(s) and the details of the scene being depicted.
2. Feel More
Black and white photography is often said to have “more of a soul” or “a heart”, and in and of itself is art. It makes you feel something deeply and takes you back to more nostalgic times. Plain and simple: You just can’t evoke the same feeling in color that you can in B&W.
3. Simplify the Story
Black and white family photography is very simple. And simple allows you to really have emotional impact unhindered by visual clutter. In color, you may find yourself focusing more on the literal components of the image – kids in a park eating ice cream, for example. When you strip away the distractions, you can suddenly start to see a story – the bond between friends or siblings, the importance of the falling leaves in the park, on and on.
4. Gain Depth and Capture the Soul
Black and white fine art photography is all about depth and luminance. When you meter correctly your images can have rich gray tones which can be almost silver. These create a whole new world that you can enjoy through this imaginary lens that may not have been seen otherwise.
A big factor as to why I utilize black and white for my art as a fine art photographer is the timeless factor of the composition. Color tones such as filters, and clothing fashions come and go, but black and white photography is so simple and timeless. Just like the old black and white photos of your parents, you are passing down a tradition to your children and you don’t have to worry about the photos having a dated look ten years down the road.
These are just a handful of the many contributing factors as to why I specialize in Seattle black and white photography. If you’re in the market to hire a fine art photographer in Seattle, Washington, or San Francisco/New York, reach out – I’d love to chat.