Black and White
21 May, 2022
I love shooting black and white. I think when I first started shooting headshots for actors I was focused on bringing as much colour to my portraits as possible. I didn't like this idea that headshots had to be dull and boring and that wearing colour would be wildly distracting and draw attention from your face. Ive really loved being on the quest to make acting headshots as colourful and vibrant as possible. However, over the last year or so Ive been drawn more and more into the world of shooting in black and white. Its a whole new approach and its amazing how you quickly see your subject in a new light. Its one thing to strip the colour from a photo in post but when you compose the headshot in black and white it is a whole different ball game. Suddenly contrast and texture seem really amplified to me and I get drawn more than ever into using more negative space.
When I left drama school back in 2003 actors headshots were still exclusively in black and white and I remember the horror when some actors started to use colour. It felt like it was sacrilege. Headshots are in black and white. Everybody knows that. If you have a headshot in colour people will think you are crazy! Now of course it's very rare indeed for someone to lead with a black and white headshot on spotlight.
Everything comes around again though. Now you see the odd black and white portrait pop up on spotlight or on an actors website and it makes my little monochromatic heart jump for joy. Black and white headshots may have been lying dormant but they are just biding their time. Like our favourite Austrian cyborg, they will be back.