Famous Black and White Photographers

Photography was invented in the black and white form itself. As the technology advanced, color photography came into existence. Though color films are cheaply available now, some art lovers and portrait photographers still prefer black and white photography or even a black and white film, for that matter. This type of photography is popular because of its low cost and the ‘classic look’ of the photographs.

One special quality which black and white photography possesses is its unique depth, which includes the quality of giving an aesthetic value to the light and shadows. Hence, its popularity started growing among the photographers who wanted to tell a story through surrealism. There are several famous photographers who have dedicated their lives solely to this beautiful form of photography. Let’s get to know a few of them.

Arno Minkkinen (1945 – )
“What happens inside your mind can happen inside a camera.”

He is a Finnish photographer who is currently working in the United States. After completing Master of Fine Arts degree, he became a professor. Now, he teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is the co-founder of the ‘Spirit Level’ workshops, held around the world since the year 1996. His works can be seen in more than 50 famous art museums all over the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Being a student of design, he is best known for his black and white photographs, containing the bodies in juxtaposition alongside beautiful landscaping. He plays with light and darkness, light and shadow, and also with settings and his subjects, which result in surreal and abstract pictures which are timeless. Keith Davis (the curator of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art) writes, “As a whole, Minkkinen’s work represents a deeply personal dialogue with nature, an artistic meditation on the tensions between seeing and dreaming, union and alienation”.

Minkkinen has a unique quality of coming up with bizarre concepts of surrealism as well as balance, and equating his foreground and background. Through some of his works, he awed art lovers with a simple background, and an abstract but out of focus foreground. Minkkinen also incorporated female nudity in some of his abstract concepts. He does most of his photo shoots in the countryside and towns of the United States and his hometown, Finland. Some of his surreal black and white photographs are also shot in European cities.

Arno Minkkinen’s famous works of abstraction are Fosters Pond, White Sands, Sandy and Self-portrait, Beach Pond, CT, 1974, to name a few. He did a series of photo shoot naming his work Wasteland Illusion wherein he used a male nude body as a foreground and juxtaposed with simple landscape in the background and created an illusion. His use of double exposure made these pictures even more surreal.