Ever since its introduction by Coco Chanel in the 1920's the "Little Black Dress" has been considered an essential element of a woman's wardrobe. The popularity and fashionability of the little black dress lie in its versatility: it can be worn as a cocktail dress, as formal business attire, or dressed up for a festive occasion.
In a similar fashion (pun intended) Black and White photography can be considered the versatile Little Black Dress that fits any interior and works in all designs. It is the traditional format of photographic expression: we are used to it, it feels natural, and like the Little Black Dress it never goes out of style.
Several design considerations are important when selecting images to match and complement an interior:
- Subject matter of the image (does it match the overall style of the room);
- Format (e.g. square, panoramic, landscape or portrait orientation);
- Matting and Framing;
- Color or Black and White.
While color as I explained in a previous post can have an important role within an image, a Black and White image transforms a scene to its most abstract format: Black and White creates a focus on shape, form, texture, lines, and patterns. It has a magical quality that you can’t quite put your finger on. Or with the words of photographer Anders Petersen: "in black and white there are more colors than color photography, because you are not blocked by any color so you can use your experience, your knowledge, and your fantasy, to put colors into black and white."
Within a Black and White image, there is no distraction from the photograph's subject matter. And, equally important when creating a design for a specific room, a Black and White image does not distract from other interior design elements. Similar to a Little Black Dress being one of the best ways to showcase fabulous jewelry, Black and White photography provides one of the best ways to showcase your interior: it doesn't overwhelm, it doesn't disturb the room's color scheme, and it actually makes accent colors in the room look more impressive. And it provides dramatic contrast in a room in which the colorfulness of the interior needs to be center stage.
Do you have a Little Black Dress to enhance your interior?