Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 9:00AM
Black-and-white images are arresting and timeless. Both contemporary and older b&w images have a timeless quality, and they immortalize faces, expressions, and personalities. I've selected a few portraits that particularly spoke to me, each by a gifted photographer.
David Seymour began taking portraits of children orphaned during World War II, as in the above example of a little girl scribbling on a chalkboard. Her haunting, mature look gives us a window into her soul. Seymour, known by his pseudonym Chim, went on to take celebrity portraits.
Arthur Fellig, known professionally as Weegee, was a scrappy street photographer who captured many crime scenes, general street scenes, and celebrity portraits. The above photo of Marilyn Monroe was shot using an elastic lens which distorted her features, a technique he used on different occasions with his celebrity portraits. His technique emphasized Marilyn's playful personality, and turned her classic beauty into the zaniness of a funhouse mirror reflection.
Robert Capa was a photojournalist who documented numerous wars, and sadly lost his life in 1954 in Indochina while on assignment, stepping on a landmine when he got out of his Jeep to get a better shot of the advance of French troops. He had made this earlier comment: "This war is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous." Capa's 1936 portrait of a boy during the Spanish Civil War captures the innocence of childhood, forever changed by the harsh realities of wartime.