In the absence of color, the story shines: our favorite reader-submitted B&W images
From a rainy afternoon in New York to conch shells captured on a Polaroid, this week’s Photos of the Day winners present photographs that tell beautiful stories.
The photographer Ted Grant once said that if you photograph in color, you photograph someone’s clothes. But if you photograph in B&W, you photograph their soul. Whether or not the subject is human, it’s true that B&W presents everything in an equalizing state of vulnerability. Suddenly, without color to distract, an image is stripped down to its essence. The form, composition, and emotion now punctuate the scene. This week’s Photos of the Day winners brought all that to their submissions, from the streets of Chicago to the racetrack and mountains.
Want to see your image in a future Photos of the Day gallery? First, check the website to view our weekly theme—we post fresh ones on Sundays. Then either upload your submissions to our Flickr pool, tag them on Instagram, or join our (NEW) Photos of the Day Facebook group.
Lead image (shot on film!) by Neal Martin Dorst. See more of Neal’s work here.
Conch shells from Cozumel, Mexico
Related: The new black-and-white Leica does things color cameras can’t
The combination of B&W, Polaroid film, and the fact that Gerri Duke used a legendary Polaroid SX-70 to make this image really ups the cool, nostalgic factor. Instant film truly has the power to render things timeless with just the right amount of imperfection.
I don’t know what I love more—the motion blur of the car zipping through the frame, the flag fluttering in the wind, or the just-barely-perceptible people at the top of the tower who lend a human element to the photograph. The story is rich while leaving questions. Is this the winning car? Did it straggle to the finish line? Neil Parry’s image conveys the frenetic energy of a day at the races.
Majestic, Mysterious, Magnificent
I was instantly taken by the intense reflection of the mountains found in the stillness of the water. Dramatic and imposing, it’s an ode to nature’s beauty and that which we find in silence and calm.
“The photos are a celebration of the amazing sculptor that is nature,” writes Lee Nordbye. “As we move from winter to spring to summer, let’s celebrate this amazing sculptor and its creations of bold pieces of natural art.”
This was a fun one. Paula Gallagher Brown takes B&W literally with her Canon EOS R5, and the results yield a playful optical illusion.
“The background and base are constructed of different printed B&W paper designs plus the crystal martini glasses and jug with stir stick filled with water create such wonderful refractions,” she explains. “I had such fun photographing this scene.”
Gregory Stringfield’s photograph stopped me for several reasons. First, we get a peek into the life of a mime when their guard is down. Gone are the caricatures and giant gesticulations in favor of a quiet, in-between moment. And second, the image leaves questions—who is he miming for? Is this a hobby or a career? What does the life of a mime look like in Chicago? The story is rife with potential.
The white umbrella, glistening pavement, seam on the woman’s nylons, and skyscrapers of María Elena Moré’s image together paint a melancholic scene of a rainy day in New York City. It somehow feels romantic, a little mysterious, and a little glamorous, all at once.