Black and White Photography Origins

Black and white photography is a number of monochrome forms in visual art. Monochrome comes from the Greek monochromos meaning “of one color”, which is a combination of monos, meaning “alone” or “solitary” and chroma meaning “color”. Quite basic when you break it down!
For Many decades black and white photography dominated the scene until color was introduced. From the 16th century when the brightness and clarity of camera obscures was improved by enlarging the hole with a telescope lens until now, we still admire the purity of black and white photography. It was not until the 17thCentury, 1727 to be exact, when Professor J. Schulze mixed chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask, that the first photosensitive compound was created. And in 1816 Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscure with photosensitive paper and created a permanent image in 1826.

In the past black and white dominated the media. Movies, television and even computers, were all monochrome. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that color photography became popular.

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Black and White


Historically, I ‘ve used a number of black and white films, including Ilford FP4 and Ilford Delta 100. Recently I have been using mostly Ilford’s XP2Super chromogenic film.

I use exclusively Ilford’s Multigrade IV RC printing paper – it’s reliable, consistent and I know how it behaves! (I do have some more interesting papers in the fridge, but somehow I never get around to trying them!).

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