Arturs Strikis

Inspiration 20 Inspirational Black and White Photography Quotes

© Arturs Strikis

We’ve gathered the 20 most moving black-and-white photography quotes that offer insights into the minds of photography greats, so sit back and get inspired!

─── by Rosie Torres, December 13, 2022
  • From the medium’s formative years to the modern era, monochrome photography has changed the way we see the world, and this collection of inspirational quotes from some of the medium’s most eminent figures will help provide inspiration, advice, and encouragement on your journey.

    black and white photography of herder on horse with sheep in Turkey byF. Dilek Uyar

    “I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.” Henri Matisse

    2. “Black and white is abstract; colour is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world.” Joel Sternfeld

    3. To some extent, the cult surrounding black-and-white photography is based on nostalgiaRené Burri

    4. “I believe that the essence of photography is black and white. Color is but a deviance.” Ruth Bernhard


    Photo: “Sheep Herds” – Bitlis, Turkey © F. Dilek Uyar

    fashion black and white photo of a young woman by Ann Cathrin Buchardt

    5. “Black and white are the colors of photography. To me, they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” Robert Frank

    6. “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.” Elliott Erwitt

    7. Black and white photography is truly quite a ‘departure from ‘reality’, and the transition from one aspect of visual magic to another was not as complete as many imagine.Ansel Adams

    8. “Black and white photography erases time from the equation.” Jason Peterson


    Photo: “Filippa” © Ann Cathrin Buchardt

    9. “I work in colour sometimes, but I guess the images I most connect to, historically speaking, are in black and white. I see more in black and white – I like the abstraction of it.” Mary Ellen Mark

    10. “Color is everything, black and white is more.” Dominic Rouse

    11. “Black and white photography has the potential to make any photographer a better photographer.” Rob Sheppard

    12. “There’s something strange and powerful about black-and-white imagery.” Stefan Kanfer


    Photo: “Morning Sun” – Odenwald, Germany © Harald Weimann

    black and white studio portrait of a man by Mustapha El Basri

    13. “In black and white there are more colors than color photography because you are not blocked by any colors so you can use your experiences, your knowledge, and your fantasy, to put colors into black and white.” Anders Petersen

    14. “My experience of learning in the darkroom with black and white film had limitations that were helpful. There were fewer choices.” Annie Leibovitz

    15. “Black-and-white always looks modern, whatever that word means.” Karl Lagerfeld

    16. “Although humans see reality in color, for me, black and white has always been connected to the image’s deeper truth, to its most hidden meaning.” Peter Lindbergh


    Photo: “Patricio” – Santa Ana, California, USA © Mustapha El Basri

    Black and white landscape photography of lake, mountain and sky by Arturs Strikis

    17. “Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can”– Jack Antonoff

    18. “All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” Leo Tolstoy⁠

    19.  “Life is in color, but black and white is more realistic.” Samuel Fuller

    20.“To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul” Andri Cauldwell


    Photo: “Angle Tarn” – Lake District National Park, England © Arturs Strikis


    Looking for more motivational insights? – Check out our Top 50 inspirational quotes for photographers



    All images © their respective owners