Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome

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

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70, we’re inviting you to explore the world of monochrome–which includes black and white and sepia, as well as different shades of one color.

For those of us who always shoot images in color, monochrome may seem dull at first.  But it has many benefits.  It can highlight texture in a shot–like these rough and smooth stones in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Sainted at Saint Patrick’s, Dublin, Ireland

I think it’s because it was an emotional story, and emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart. – Kim Hunter

Monochrome can also add drama, mystery, and emotion to a shot–which is why I used it in this photo of the infamous Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, where many rebel prisoners were killed during the Irish Uprising.

Kilmanham Gaol, Exterior, Dublin, Ireland

I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black. – Henri Mattise

Monochrome can also add old-world charm to your photos–like this shot of Roman rooftops–which could have been taken hundreds of years ago, instead of just last year.  Monochrome also eliminates distracting colors.  So, in this shot, the viewer can focus on the beautiful geometry of the domes and spires and various buildings.

Rooftops, Rome, Italy

One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty.– Paul Outerbridge

Monochrome literally means “one color.”  So, it also gives you the opportunity to explore different tones and shades within one color–in this case, yellow.


This week, we invite you to explore Monochrome for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70.  You can include images in black and white, sepia, and/or different shades of one color.  For an extra challenge, try adding a bit of color to a black and white image.  In your post, include a link to this post. (Links from the Reader are not working correctly.) Use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. For instructions on how to join us, click here.

Thanks to all of you who participated in Tina’s fun “Seeing Double” challenge last week.  I loved the variety and creativity of your responses to her theme.

Did You See These?

  • Viveka treats us to some great doubles–even hamburgers.
  • Raj shows us “When Two Is Company!”
  • Ana at Anvica’s Gallery highlights “Seeing Double” in fire, smoke, and flowers.

Next week, our talented Ann Christine will host Challenge #71, so please be sure to stop by her site.

As always, Amy, Tina, Ann-Christine, and I hope you will join us.  We thank you for your continued support of our photo challenge.

231 replies »

  1. Beautiful post Patti – love the expanded definition of monochrome to include a single color or better still, a monochrome image with a touch of color. Each of your images prove the importance of monochrome and it’s impact on the viewer. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, a great topic again … but I have to play around with my images. Never work in Monochrome. Thanks for the support for last week’s challenge, lovely!!!! Excellent gallery, Patti … I prefer that sunflower. Our world needs all the colors it can get. *smile

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post, Patti – and I love the expanded theme with one colour and the possibility of selective colours. The rooftops are my great favorites – but your choices are all perfect. Looking forward to seeing all entries now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Superb theme but I must tell you this was the most difficult one! Why? because it’s very difficult to choose a perfect monochrome! (at least for me) 😀
    But then I understood why only advanced photographers go for monochrome/b&w shots. Because one has to plan before even click the trigger!
    Thanks for the opportunity, Patti!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Wendy. Thanks for your thoughts on my shots. I’m glad you like those two. True, there are layers to the Rome vista. So many different shapes and details appear the more you look. I love the architecture there. I’m so glad you shared your impressions.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was such a great idea to explore the differences in these often-confused terms. And you know – for some reason I always refer to monochrome photography as greyscale even though I know in painting (or on color photos) it is one color variation – and not sure I can stop doing it – lol – but iw ill try

    and in your post – so much to enjoy – but I really liked the way you showed textures/shades/architecture with the grayscale approach – esp the brick work – really see the variation

    and here is my entry:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful shots Patti. I am keen on using monochrome, though haven’t done for a while so this gives me an opportunity to experiment on some very recent photos taken locally. I must admit I do like architecture in B&W.
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

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