Darkness is fundamental to the medium of monochrome photography. Without darkness there can be no light, without black, there is no white. These works celebrate this relationship, not only literally, in terms of richness and variety of tone, but also in homage to darkness as subject matter. These are works by some of the leading practitioners in this art form.
Black and white photography has always lent itself to the seamier, more sinister side of life. Take Daido Moriyama’s textural shot of a damp night in Manhattan, a sea of liquid reflections; an intimate portrait of a lady of the night, sprawled in suspenders in a hotel chair; a mysterious woman in a sequined dress and a white hat, her face obscured by darkness. Or Nobuyoshi Araki’s beautifully poised and bound nude, suspended on a system of pulleys and ropes, a homage to the power of female allure. Or Todd Hido’s eerily atmospheric nocturnal shots of houses and apartments – where often the only hint of life is a single light left on. These are works of which provoke and intrigue. But also works of great beauty.
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