Back To Black & White by Claudia Luthi

I don’t want to add fuel to the never ending discussion whether black and white photography is superior to color photography. Both have their pros and cons and reasons to be, and there sure are a whole lot of photographs that look better in the one or the other way, or in both, but with different moods and expressions. What is certain is that black and white photography is the realm of the shades and contrasts, and thus an art that is much closer to the conceptual than its replica in color. Nobody will doubt of the timeless and irresistible power that the great black and white photographs exert on the onlooker.

Alas, since I have turned to digital, I have left the black and white almost completely aside in favor of color photography. But when I started taking photos about 12 years ago, and installed therefore a rudimentary dark room in my bathroom, I was a fan of the tri-x film. And when I look today at those photographs printed on Ilford paper, I am prey to an ineffable nostalgia. Surely, black and white photography is per se the art of nostalgia, and also the exclusive realm of orthodox documentary photography, which at some point I came to despise.

Now, playfully re-discovering the black and white, I notice that it is still an incomparable and infinite world and I am filled with joy to experiment again with this simple but sophisticated discipline. Here are the first results. More here.

Criticism is welcome.






Claudia Lüthi is an amateur photographer who lives in Lima, Peru. She is a founding member of aamora. You can see Claudia’s previous aamora posts by clicking here. You can also find her in JPG Magazine and in el lente de la coneja.

18 thoughts on “Back To Black & White by Claudia Luthi”

  1. your photos are excellent, claudia. i dont ever consider any conversation about b&w/color…….it doesnt matter. there’s no purity. there’s no elitism. there’s nobody who knows anything. you take a photo. you make a photo. and if you like it, if it does it for you, then that’s all that matters.

  2. Brava. Outstanding work C. I spent 30 years of my life blindly seeing the world only in B/W. You know what I could care less anymore, as its all colours all the time from here on in. In other words I had cheated myself of a whole palette & range of colours all those years. I still very much dig B/W, its really just the other end of the non colour specturm & in this case here your fotos are truly works of beauty & the sublime.

  3. Thank you so much to all and everybody for your kind comments! I am overwhelmed.
    And Llorenç, some day we will begin that discussion, I am sure we all would profit from it…

  4. Claudia, this is a triumphant return. These images are absolutely marvelous, as are the additional ones that you posted on your blog. As you say, color and b/w each have an optimal application, depending on the image and what the photographer wishes to impart. I’m absolutely delighted that, going forward, we will have the privilege of seeing how you use both canvases.

  5. I am always thrilled to see your work..and especially this black and white..I try to think I like color just as well but I always return to beauty such as this..

  6. It’s fascinating to see these images in black and white. I always think of your shots of Peru as being in colour (and I love them!) These are exceptional and artistic, and the “lack of colour” seems to make them more universal and less specific to their geographical area.
    I love both colour and black and white but would always give the latter preferance.
    As Jim said , I wouldn’t want to be without either!

  7. These are fantastic, Claudia! Sometimes I shoot digital with the intent for black & white, other times I decide afterwards to convert. I just think some images almost demand to be b&w. I just wouldn’t want to be without either choice. Love them both.

  8. These are all fabulous images…. I am mesmerized by b&w… it strips everything down to basics and reveals the true artist, like you.

  9. Like you claudia, before I got a digital camera I only made work in B&W and although I am having a love affair with colour right now, my thoughts are slowly beginning to turn back to B&W again – esp after dicovering the wonderful work of Anders Peteren (and your work Llorenc). Sadly my digital imaging skills are limited at present and I would not know how to work in B&W digitally anyhow. This is frustrating for me and long for a teacher.. One day though, one day 🙂 … Wonderful images and thank you for sharing them x

  10. I used a Minolta film camera when I took my first photography course and one of the things we had to do was shoot black & white. I hated every one of my pics. When I got my digital I had fun turning some of my color photographs into black & white in iPhoto. I still can’t tell before I shoot something if it will look better in black & white or color.

    Your works are a revelation. I’m a big fan of both your black & white and your color photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Great photography isn’t just down to the colour or absence of it, but the eye of the image maker.
    You have that eye and as a huge fan of B&W, I find these wonderful.

  12. Hi Claudia,

    I can’t help it but B&W images always give me the sense they were created by a craft-person; Deliberate in the tonal range, deliberate in the shadows and highlights, but most of all deliberate in process.

    Your spectacular images make me wish I spent more time creating images with B&W film.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. I saw it. I saw it before nobody. And I didn’t have time to leave my comment in El Lente de la Coneja. I believe that it is a marvelous return to the complex world of the b/w. Anyway I believe that your best photos remained in El Lente… Like the photo with five trunks or the post and the old white car. I wouldn’t know what to say, I wouldn’t know what to add. Because mine is to debate and clear, you say that you don’t want to light the wick… Vilem Flússer (A philosophy of the photography -good book-) says many guessed right things, but ‘la caga’ seriously in others. And here is where I would begin discussing.
    But I will not do it. I want only to congratulate you, because although you see the world in color and you think that the b/w is only for the photojournalists and the oneiric world, have achieved zero photos documentary, but completely living, direct and real ones. The good thing of the b/w is that it equals us to all and in it we discover the one who is good and who not. You’re so good.

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