Documenting the World in Black and White

This was an assignment I recently gave to my photo class.  For one week, set your digital cameras and camera phones to shoot purposely in black and white.

Now I know what you’re thinking…can’t that just be done in post-processing?  And of course the answer is YES…most professionals will tell you to shoot in color so you have the original and the option to convert to whatever down the road.


But it’s a good exercise in working with set limitations…limitations that were once the reality for photographers in documenting the world around them.

In looking over the work my students submitted for this assignment, I suddenly thought to myself…when do I ever, purposefully document the world I see in black and white?   And the answer is…not all that often…I am a long time lover of highly saturated color and not ashamed to admit it.

So in honoring the timeless tradition of black and white photography, I reviewed my digital files and gathered some recent images I created while purposefully documenting the world in black and white.

(Wait till my class hears that it was only AFTER I gave this assignment, did I discover that when shooting in monochromatic mode you can still retain the original colors when shooting RAW images!!  What can I say…I have learned so much more about photography once I started teaching it to others!!)