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« {iPhoneography} Our Week Squared | Main | Forty-Four Wishes »

{Guest Post} Back in Time by Tracey Clark

 Oh my goodness... I'm so excited.....the super talented...always inspiring....  Tracey Clark is here to share with us today! Woo hoo.... Be sure to check out the surprise below her beautiful words and images.

Take it away, Tracey.....

My love affair with photography began in black & white. Before the digital age, you had to make a decision what kind of photograph you wanted to create. For me, it was always black & white. Roll after roll, shooting with a monochromatic palette, I began to actually see the world around me translated through the absence of color. It helped to hone my photographic eye. I became a stalker of light, of shadow, highlights, shade, shape, curve, space, composition and expression. When you remove the color from the image, each of these things becomes even more important. 

Since then, I’ve come to embrace the digital age and have learned to love (and depend on) seeing the shot in color first. After the fact, with the click of my mouse, I can change it on a whim. It’s changed how I see the world. I still see all of the things I saw before only now I have the luxury of choosing how to proceed. Color or black & white? And I usually make my choice on a shot to shot basis. Now, every shot can ask for something unique. Each one tells me what it would like to be. I listen and follow along.

Even still, I am 100% certain that laying my photographic foundation in black & white made me the photographer I am today. I’m not so sure I’d be able to see all of the elements I see, all of the things that make up a strong image, if it weren’t for the monochromatic practice. Would I still know the way the light shapes things and bring them to life, the importance of gesture and expression, the way every part of the frame is a narrative? I’m not sure. I just don’t know if color makes you work hard enough to not only see those things, but also to put them to good use in your images. I guess at this point there’s no real way to tell but I can say that with Picture Black & White, I am eager to shoot with black & white in mind again. I am looking forward to the challenge of going back to basics, of revisiting my beginnings, and reminding myself of where and how my passion was sparked.

Why is it that black & white images from the past stir our souls? Is it just a coincidence that all of the black & white images I cherish feel timeless, classic, and true? I doubt it. Black & white isn’t just where I began in photography; it’s where many of us began experiencing photography, whether by shooting or just by looking at early images. Black & white photography is a part of our history, part of who we are. And no matter how much amazing and awesome technology there is to help us capture life in living color, traveling back in time to where it all began will never get old. 


Thank you Tracey... I adore your B&W imagery.

Fabulous News

Tracey is offering 3 lucky winners a spot in her upcoming class, Picture Black & White

To enter, leave a comment below sharing your thoughts/ideas/experience with Black & White Photography. Be sure to enter your email address in the info box.

The lucky winners will be announced tomorrow evening (May 2nd).

Reader Comments (386)

B&W photography is something which is a timeless classic if done correctly. Something I still have not mastered but will do one day.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeena
I find it interesting that you said shooting in b&w opened your eyes to viewing the world in a new way. That sounds like something I would really benefit from. I shoot in color (digital) and convert some images to b&w. I find they don't all lend themselves to it, but the ones that do - Wow.

My email:
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEleanor
Truly Beautiful Tracey! I just love black and white photography... the mood and vibe it gives off is like NO other... some people say old fashioned... I say antique... some people say dull ... I see... a photo with so much potential without having to be one color.. your mind can imagine it whatever color you want! I just simply LOVE black and white photography!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy S
I would love a chance to get in on this class. I have really enjoyed dabbling in black and white photography, but I know there is so much to learn!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeAnne
I think Black and White is so beautiful but soooo difficult. I would love to learn. I always get a flat photo, I would love to learn to control the tones.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIquemon
how exciting! brings me back to my student times, when we developed our b/w films in the darkroom... it was great! and today in the digital era i still often set my pictures back to b/w to play a bit...
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohanna
Tracy, so beautiful! I love B&W photos! They always look so timeless and classic...a beautiful way to capture a moment forever. :)
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
I too started out in black and white, the dark room, the trays, the chemicals. It is nice to see that you are trying to bring it back. I would love to take your class.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Breining
I shot in BW in-camera this morning. I was able to capture emotions that looked so much stronger than in color.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
I've always loved B&W photyography, espcially for winter landscapes. It draws the viewer in and more easily tells a story, I think. Thanks for the opporutnity to participate!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElectra
There is NOTHING like Black and White photography. It always seems to show the depth, or soul, of a person. I am truly embracing getting back into photography again after many years of just shooting pictures without thinking. I would love to take your course!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
I would love to learn from Tracey Clark. She is a true master at what she does and inspiring leader. I adore black and white photography.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSherry
I really fell in love with photography by looking through books of photographers I admired when in my early 20's. Many, many of these shots were in black and white. I LOVE color; however, something about peeling that away just leaves the essence of the moment in a evocative, beautiful way. Thanks for the chance to win a spot in your class Tracey!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkristina wingeier
Love B&W, I started with black and white in my high school days (late 70's)! Once took a class on colorizing! It's nice we have so many options at our fingertips these days! Thanks!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel
I am new to photography and know very little of black and white; this class would be a huge blessing to me! Would really love to learn. :)
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon K
I love b&w photography! It gives such depth to its subjects, and it's absolutely an art. I love the shadows, the mystery it can add, the character....everything. That said, all of my efforts in b&w have been completely lackluster. Underwhelming. Sad. Help, please? Thanks so much for the opportunity! rabbitrabbit002 at yahoo dot com
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah A.
Black and White can really evoke a mood instantly. I don't shoot enough of it. I should. I will. I love mood images.
I would LOVE to earn a slot in learning how to be the best I can be!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterQuirkyKim
Hi Tracy, great photos. I have always loved your classes. Looking foward to your b&w!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Oh would I love a spot on that admire b&w, have not mastered the art, would love to try.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna
I have a deep love of B/W photography!!! I love your perspective on this!!! Thanks for the opportunity!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkandi
Hi there.
You both are so inspiring....... thanks!
My story with b&w photograpphy begans 20 years ago. I used to see in b&w (not literally), I could't make a colour photo because I just didn't see in colours through my camera lenses..... just b&w. It's a state, a state of the mind, of the way you see the world, the way you conect with it..... You see in colours, but if you can see in b&w, then... the world is different, everything that surrounds you is different and touches you in another way. I can't explain it actually. Colours are heart and b&w is soul. And the soul is eternal......
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNuria
Love, love, love black and white. I am trying to learn the computer side to my photography so I can create beautiful pictures with my black and whites.....there is something about the b&w images that make my heart and soul sing....
How wonderful it would be to learn more, your phots are truly inspiring...
Margaret B
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret
WOW! I started taking pictures when I retired...I'm told I have an eye for it....even tho' I take the pictures by looking at the screen and take most on automatic...have no clue about F stops. Black and white is another area I know nothing about, but it would be fun to learn!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan Caqstle
I am so drawn to black and white photos. It seems like there is always a story being told. As a photographer, I am still perfecting my black and white technique and want to learn as much as I can about the process. Tracey, your shots and your thoughts are beautiful! Thank you.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
It's true that B&W evokes a certain sense of drama...but what about how clean it feels? A well done black and white image makes me feel like I just got out of the shower - everything looks exactly how it's supposed to, with a busy background too dark to discern what it is, making the subject really stand out. There is also something so simple about a black and white image that can make it more complex than it was originally intended to be. A really good B&W image should provoke questions from the viewer, not about the image but about the subjects.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlaire Ring
I have always been in love with B&W photos. When I first got my 35mm SLR, I took so many rolls of B&W. Now that I've switched over to digital, I too, am in love with the ability to take a picture and change it to B&W so easily. I am still not all that great with light and pictures, but I hope to figure it out someday. :)
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberlee
Black and white photography is an art form, it can make a powerful statement, and will always be appreciated. I would love to learn to do it better!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnneclaire
when i shot film, i would only shoot in black and white, but now... i seem to be addicted, in a bad way, to colour, i miss being able to take good shots in black and white... how i wish i could go back to it, but i seem to have lost the touch... sniff sniff
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElaine-
I love black and white. Tracey is right, you have to be a seeker of light, form, curve, texture - all those components that create beautiful b&w photos. It isn't easy and i am still learning... but I love the essence of it. Thank you for the opportunity for a spot in the class.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarji
I know so little about B&W photography, but on a recent trip to Holland I took lots of photos of the windmills in B&W because the weather was cloudy and I felt the lack of colour accentuated the shapes on the flat land... but it was all guesswork so I'd love to find out more!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMadison
I love the varying tones in black and white images, removal of the colour enables you to see details that might otherwise be overlooked.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Benson
How exciting.. I just love Tracy's classes and have taken a few over at big picture.. I would love to learn more about B & W shots.. Thanks so much for the chance to win..
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda R
I love black and white photography but truly need to learn more....much more. To be a part of Tracey's class is just the jump start I need.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarty Mason
Thank you for offering this!
What can you say about black and white? It distills the image down to it's essence. I would love to be able to evoke the intensity of feelings that Tracey does through black and white.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy
Black & White always evokes wonderful scenes of my childhood. My father took many photographs & developed them himself. I'm sure that he's responsible for my love of photography. Digital was just coming in when he passed away. He loved for me to show him things on the computer--things that he called "magical."
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBettyC
Oh how I have been longing to take this class, but it just isn't in the budget right now! I love love love black and white photos, but have had little luck taking images that translate well from color to black and white. I have taken several of Tracey's classes and enjoyed them immensely.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVertigo B
Hi Tracy! I love your b & w photos!! They look so great. I have such a hard time turning my pictures into b&w because I LOVE color... I know that the depth and contrast shows up so nice when converted, but I really do not know the "tricks".
You do an amazing job. Thanks for the inspiration to try this more often.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Wessel
It would be a great opportunity to learn how to take some great b&w photos. Thanks.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
Thanks Kim, I would love to be selected to be part of Tracey's upcoming B&W class. Thanks for the chance.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJP Beth
So interesting what Tracey says about black and white honing her photographic eye. Black and white is something I would love to experiment more with. I think maybe I rely on colour a little too much and my photography would generally benefit from stripping back to the light, shadows and highlights and learning from there. This course sounds amazing. :)
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecs
Though I love the drama of black and white photography, I adore bright and vibrant color. One look at my images and you know this to be the case. Switching to black and white would be a struggle; a real battle of will. Still, I am up for the challenge. You learn more from things that don't come easy.
I enjoy looking at the old black & white pictures of peopole more than I do most color pictures. I guess I have an afinity for black & white since that was all we had until I was in my 20's for home photography. (well all I could afford) First camera was a Kodak Brownie. Still have albums from the 50's with the black paper and little triangle corner holdrs. I wonder if Ansel Admas would still photograph scenery in black & white with the new digital way of taking pictures? I think balck & white photos open up your imagination more than color when veiwing them.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
In my earlier post-processing days, I thought black &white conversions were an easy fix to photos that were imperfect, having white balance issues, incorrect exposure leading to color problems and noise, etc. You could mask all this by converting to b/w. But then I started to see how black & white images could direct your eye in a way that color couldn't, how light and shadows could be used so effectively when color was taken out of the equation and thus my love affair with black and white conversions began. I use a lot of b/w actions but would love to learn more about the process and creating my own.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRae Clevett
B&W photography is the classiest type of photography one can have. I'd love to have a change to learn from Tracey, the absolute MASTER!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIrene Sneddon
I want to learn!!!!!!! I have no experience what so ever!!! But I've always loved and been drawn to b&w!!
Thanks so much for this offering.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Bivona
I am dying to take this class!!! I did picture inspiration and loved every minute of it! And I'm a sucker for black and whites!! It all sounds amazing!!
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Being a beginner..(.well almost., first experiences with a camera was one I received for Christmas at age 9 with which I always cut off the intended subjects head, arm or half a body completely out of the picture..NOT INTENDED) photography I'm enjoying the process of learning light play in my pictures. What I enjoy most is how one feels when viewing a picture. I believe a picture should contain a 'soul'...a New view into God's world. I adore Black & White....I think it's raw colors make you feel and see not just with your eye's but with your heart. Black & White is a pure view of life without any color obstructing the true lines...true beauty..of the subject.

I would be honored to be in the class and be able to learn....I'm always learning. I don't think you can ever learn enough!

Thank you for offering such a wonderful course.

Wonderful post and giveaway!
I too began with black and white.
My father's Polaroid, and Kodak Brownie.
Self-teaching black and white as my time permits, I would love the opportunity to be a part of this class.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlisa
I also love black and whites - the drama, intensity of contrast and emotional depth of them is amazing. I usually shoot in color, then try to edit to black and white. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work great for me since I am still learning photoshop. I'd love to shoot more in black and white and get the photo correct SOOC. Thanks for the above tips, and I'd love to learn more at your class.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie morency
My thoughts on black and white - simple and appealing with the right shots. As a portrait photographer I often have trouble deciding what would make a great B&W shot though. Love to take the class.
May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristal
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