Nov 24, 2016

There is something strangely beautiful and moving about a black-and-white photograph. Is it the presence of chiaroscuro, the use of strong contrast between light and dark, in the composition or the vintage character and romanticism it evokes? Is it the laborious yet fulfilling process of developing images from films and immortalizing them on archival paper?

In our modern world where everything seems better in technicolor, black-and- white photography remains to be one of the purest art forms out there. For what it’s worth, part of its appeal lies in the vision and artistic choice of the lensman himself. It takes more than just mad post-processing skills to render an image in black and white. Using high-quality equipment may prove futile if the photographer isn’t well-versed in seeking subject matter that would look best in monochrome. To capture memorable imagery, thorough understanding of the visual elements—shape, form, tone, texture, and lighting—is key.

Notable British photographer Sandra Lousada seems acutely aware of seeing the world in shades of grayscale. In her book titled Public Faces Private Places, she affords us thoughtfully curated and eloquent black and white photographs of people she was able to work and build relationships with. A beautifully bound compendium of portraits of actors, designers, musicians, writers, architects, and visual artists from her career spanning 50 years, Lousada’s portraits have a soft yet striking quality to them and are intimate and honest, allowing readers a peek into the private lives of her sought-after subjects.

Lousada’s perceptive eye and self-expression are also apparent in her book. Exposed at a young age to painting and theater in the form of wall-bound artworks in their house and of her grandfather’s musicals, Lousada made these first-hand influences the recurring themes of her oeuvre. Her anthology of images is a fitting tribute to her childhood passions—made richer in black in white.

Available in major bookstores.

TAGS: art art book nolisoliph Sandra Lousada