Since the inception of photography, black and white imagery has graced the art form, capturing hearts and minds with its unique charm. Despite the rise of color photography, the allure of black and white remains steadfast, and photographers continue to choose this medium to express their artistic vision.

Black and white photography harks back to the earliest days of the craft, where monochrome images served as the only means to capture the world. As technology advanced and color photography emerged, some feared that black and white would fade into obscurity. However, the opposite occurred; it carved a niche for itself, cherished for its ability to evoke emotions and accentuate the essence of a moment.

Black and white photography has a unique way of capturing emotions. The absence of color encourages viewers to explore the subtleties of expression and mood, immersing themselves in the photograph's narrative. This artistry lends itself well to portraiture, where emotions are at the forefront, and the soul of the subject is bared.

The Appeal of Black and White Photography

Black and white photography is often used to create a sense of timelessness, simplicity, and nostalgia. It can also be used to emphasize the shapes, textures, and contrast of a subject. The absence of color allows the photographer to focus on these elements, creating a more striking and powerful image.

The images in the Modern Black and White gallery are the result of spending weeks on the editing process.

1. Justice

inspiring black and white photographs

The halls of justice can invoke a myriad of emotions. Whether in color or black and white, everyone sees the justice system of America in a different light. Some good, some bad, some indifferent. Either way, be proud of who you are and always try to do good in this world. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

The State Capitol Building is a significant cultural and historical landmark in Washington State. It has been the center of government in the state for almost a century and is a symbol of the state's political power.

The building is also home to many important artifacts and works of art. The Legislative Building features a collection of historical murals, including one by renowned artist Edwin Blashfield. The building's rotunda houses a large chandelier made of over 4,000 pieces of crystal, and the Legislative Chamber features a beautiful mural by artist Albert Herter.

The State Capitol Building is also a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take guided tours of the building and learn about the state's history and government. The building is also a popular spot for photography and picnics.

2. Becoming Gotham

most inspiring black and white photographs.

The iconic view of Seattle from the Jose Rizal Bridge. I wanted a different look so I thought about how I could make Seattle look like Gotham. Most photographers photograph this location at sunset. In the summer, the sun sets behind the city. Built in 1911, it was one of the first permanent steel bridges in Seattle. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

BECOMING GOTHAM is the image I'm most proud of. Over 30 hours went into this edit. A mask was created for every different part of this image. Each building was edited, the light posts on the highway, the sky, trees, etc. to create the 3D look. Most photographers aren't willing to put in this amount of time but I enjoy the editing process. It took about 3 weeks with a few hours a day to complete. After a few hours, my eyes crossed and I had to stop. I think this is the best black and white image of Seattle I've seen. But I may be a bit biased.

3. Palace of Fine Arts

Most inspiring black and white photographs

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Built to hold the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibit and is now used for weddings, corporate events, etc. During our 2 week road trip over Thanksgiving, we learned San Francisco is a cloudless city but the 60 degree temps sure were nice after leaving Seattle. I wonder if the foggy images I see are Photoshopped. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

The history of the Palace of Fine Arts dates back to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. Its primary purpose was to showcase the beauty of fine arts and serve as an inspiration to visitors. Designed by renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, the palace was originally intended to be temporary but gained immense popularity and was later reconstructed using more durable materials.

The palace boasts a stunning Greco-Roman architectural style, featuring a monumental dome, majestic colonnades, and intricate embellishments. The meticulously crafted sculptures and reliefs further enhance the overall aesthetic, leaving visitors in awe of its grandeur.

4. Bridge to Somewhere

inspiring black and white photographs

Where does this bridge go for you? So many choices and each one is up to you. You get to decide where the road is taking you. Wherever you want to go figure out how to get there and take it one day at a time. No excuses, no blaming others. Follow your path and make it what you want. I have been driving past the 21st Street bridge in Tacoma, Washington for years and as I learn more about black and white editing, I finally have a vision of what I want it to look like. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

As I embarked on my journey, driving south on I-5 through Tacoma, Washington, an image lingered in my mind, awaiting the perfect moment to come to life. It was a vision of a bridge, a symbol of connection and exploration. However, waiting for the right conditions to materialize proved to be a challenge, especially during the summer when the skies were relentlessly clear and blue.

I yearned for clouds to add depth and drama to the scene, but for a long time, the summer sky showed no sign of relenting. Patience was key, and I knew that I had to wait for the opportune time to capture my envisioned masterpiece.

Finally, as the early fall arrived, the elements aligned, and my long-awaited photograph, "BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE," began to take shape. The sky adorned itself with streaking clouds, lending a captivating contrast to the otherwise vast blue expanse. This interplay of light and shadow breathed life into the image, creating the perfect setting for an inspiring black and white photograph.

The allure of black and white photography lay in its ability to distill a scene to its essence, removing the distractions of color to reveal the raw emotions and textures beneath. In this image, the monochromatic treatment allowed the viewers to focus solely on the play of light and the subtle details of the bridge's architecture.

5. Mount Rainier Black and White

Inspiring black and white photographs.

Mount Rainier reflecting in Reflection Lakes during a cloudy, rainy morning. Converting an image to black and white removes all the distraction cause by the many colors of the scene. A 4 minute exposure creates a sense of movement in the clouds and calm in the lake. Black and white images are about the Figure and the Ground. The "Figure" is Mount Rainier since that has the most contrast and the "Ground" is everything else. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

As the first light of dawn approached, I arrived at Reflection Lakes, eagerly anticipating the magic of sunrise. However, on that particular morning, the sky was adorned with thick clouds, veiling the sun's rays from reaching the landscape below. Initially disappointed, I soon realized that this was an opportunity to create something different and unique - an inspiring black and white photograph.

The clouds, though obstructing the sunrise, presented a stunning canvas for my creative vision. With a prolonged exposure, I captured the essence of the moment, streaking the clouds across the frame and smoothing out the ripples in the calm waters of the lake. The scene took on an ethereal quality, as if time itself had slowed down to lend its serenity to the composition.

As a photographer, these moments of connection with nature are what fuel my passion. Each scene, whether grand or subtle, presents a chance to tell a story through the lens. And Reflection Lakes, with its ever-changing skies and mirrored waters, is a place of endless inspiration and discovery.

In the end, it was the unexpected clouds that made all the difference. They transformed a conventional sunrise into a masterpiece of artistry, reminding me of the beauty that lies in embracing the unforeseen. Reflecting on that morning at the lakes, I am grateful for the experience and the reminder that the best photographs are often born from moments of spontaneity and adaptation.


Black and white photography, although timeless and evocative, is undoubtedly a challenging craft to master. Unlike the simplicity of clicking a black and white button in editing software, creating truly inspiring black and white photographs demands dedication, skill, and countless hours of painstaking work. As a photographer, I have found immense joy in the editing process, where each photograph is meticulously crafted to perfection, using techniques such as hard masks and luminosity masks, intricately combined to breathe life into the images.

To achieve the desired results, black and white photographs require more than just the removal of color. It's about crafting a story through tones, textures, and contrasts, emphasizing the essence of the subject and evoking emotions that may have been overshadowed by color distractions. Each photograph is an artistic endeavor, and the editing process plays a crucial role in unlocking its true potential.. Check out the Modern Black and White gallery for more inspiration.

black and white fine art print of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park.

A perfect cloudy day to shoot a black and white fine art image of the bones of the Peter Iredale. The ship ran aground in a storm in 1906 while navigating to the Columbia River. No casualties among the 27 crew but the ship was never salvaged. After a couple weeks on the sand, the hull became damaged and was left alone. It has since become a major attraction around Astoria, Oregon and Fort Stevens State Park. Limited Edition of 100 prints available.

Wenatchee river in the Tumwater canyon in black and white.

The Tumwater Canyon in the fall is some of the best fall color in Washington State but sometimes it has to be shown in black and white. Show the area in the simplicity and timelessness that is black and white photography. It makes me wonder what Ansel Adams would do with the digital camera of today.