Why black-and-white photography? What do research findings indicate..

Images from childhood, Alexia Makridou, 2013.

According to research findings, “the absence of colours facilitates us to focus on subject matter, its shape, its texture, or the overall light and shade scale…Black-and-white photography because of its absence of sensory colour, is less realistic and naturalistic and tends to generalise and conceptualise the subject-matter; because of this detachment from reality, is more suitable for documentary photography” (Arnheim, 1957). Black-and-white photography can be regarded more intellectual and more demanding in terms of aesthetic than colour photography, which can be considered to give gratification for popular taste.Theo van Leeuwen’s, (2002, p. 343-368) examination of independent semiotic modes, enhance the power of monochrome images over colour images.“Black-and-white photographic images focus on shapes that require intellectual reflection, or distance from reality and thus explore aesthetic possibilities”. (Arnheim, 1957, p. 66)

The most political decision you make…

“The most political decision you make is where you direct people’s eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political… And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change”. Wim Wenders, The Act of Seeing.

Do we mainly remember through photographs?

Photographs are essential for remembering past events, since ”to remember is, more and more, not to recall a story but to be able to call up a picture (Susan Sontag, p89). The problem however is not that people remember through photographs, but that they remember only the photographs” (89). Sontag’s conviction that there is amnesia regarding events without pictures in not entirely convincing at this point, since certain important speeches or events that occurred before photography was invented are still remembered. However, the importance of photographs cannot be denied, especially as society moves ever further away from having significant unphotographed events as a result of the discussion and affordability of technology. As noted by Walter Benjamin, history decays into images, not stories.

Sontag ‘Regarding the pain of others’, 2003