"I have yet to see — much less produce — a colour photograph that fulfils my concepts of the objectives of art."
Ansel Adams.

The Tetons and the Snake River (1942) ©ANSEL ADAMS

The Tetons and Snake River (1942) Photograph by Ansel Adams
Photograph by Ansel Adam
© The Ansel Adams Publishings. Collection Center for Creative Photography Rights Trust

Some of the greatest and most iconic photographs ever taken have been in black & white. Masters such as Ansel Adams, Cartier Bresson, Sir Don McCullin, Mary Ellen Mark and Sebastiao Salgado to name just a few, have shown just how powerful and emotive a black & white image can be.

We know that we’re biased. It goes without saying that we can and will wax lyrical about the beauty of black & white all day long. It is after all our passion and our goal to keep black & white film photography alive and kicking.

Ultimately the choice between colour and black & white is not right or wrong – it is a personal preference. For many of our customers black & white has become a mindset.  A way of working. Of visualizing the final image. A passion that equals our own!

Why we love Black & white

Shooting in black & white is a creative choice. The absence of colour gives your subject and scene the focus and attention it needs, free from distraction, with the potential to use space, composition, shapes, lines and objects in a way that colour can’t.

Black & white doesn’t limit you but rather frees you from the constraints of the colours we see with our eyes. It allows you to interpret and control how this is converted into varying shades of grey. The choice of filters, film, processing techniques and paper for a final print all have an impact on the overall effect achieved allowing an unlimited degree of creative control.

It lends a timeless quality to your prints. We hear this phrase a lot. Many interpret this as a connection to the past but we think it is more than that. Black & white is timeless because it doesn’t age or go out of fashion. It can represent a look and style without being retro, dated or forced.

Black & white is the perfect way to capture the light. Light is the fundamental principle of photography. From the highlights to the shadows and varying shades and tones in-between, the contrast of a black & white image can have a dramatic influence on your style which has made it such a popular choice for street, portrait and landscape photography (as well as many other genres).

Why do you love black & white?

For well over 100 years our customers have created incredible images using ILFORD products. From soldiers on the front line to daily life in palaces, from every corner of the globe, our film, papers and chemistry have borne witness to soft grey tones, dramatic contrasts of light and dark and everything in between.

One of our greatest pleasures is seeing what you have captured and how you have interpreted our colourful world in black & white. Keep sharing your images with us. You can show them off in a number of ways. Via our social channels (FacebookTwitter & Instagram)  or by registering on this site to upload to our gallery or competitions. We will always showcase images that catch our eye.

Churchgate Station, Bombay, India 1995 ©SEBASTIAO SALGADO

Churchgate Station, Bombay, India 1995 ©Sebastiao Salgado