Monochrome Magic

This article by Ann Mackay got my attention, especially as I recently challenged myself to find interesting black-and-white work by other bloggers and then re-blogged a different photo or artwork every day for a week (with permission). I really enjoyed my journey into black-and-white territory

In her article, Ann discusses various ways in which a colour image may benefit from conversion to monochrome or duotone with beautiful examples of what she’s achieved with some of her own flower photos.

Ann’s blog:  Ann Mackay: Inspired by Nature
Creative Explorations in Photography, Art and Writing

Monochrome (and Duotone) Magic

— Reblog of a post by Ann Mackay (UK)

“Sometimes I prefer the look of a photograph that has been converted to black and white, rather than the original colour version. And it can be even better if it has had some ‘toning’ added in Photoshop.” – Ann Mackay.  (continued below)…

mackay01-mon-toned-spider-lilySpider Lily (Hymenocallis x festalis) – duotone created in Photoshop
[click on the above photo to enlarge]

So why should that be? For some photographs, it may simply be that the original colours don’t work well together – as with the ‘Spider Lily’ above. The flower was growing in front of our house, which is painted ‘Suffolk Pink’. I didn’t like the pink wall as a background because it distracted from the flower too much.

Converting the picture to plain black and white got rid of the distraction but the result wasn’t terribly exciting, so the colour tones were added to create a bit of extra interest. This has given a look very like a cyanotype print which has been toned in tea. (Does that sound odd? Ordinary tea makes a great toner for cyanotype prints – takes the harshness out of the blue and turns the white paper a soft cream/brown shade.)

mackay02-mono-toned-crown-imperials_miniCrown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis)

Other photographs may benefit from simplification. With the ‘Crown Imperials’ above, I was attracted by the lines of the veins on the petals, and to a lesser extent, by the way the curve of one of the leaves at the top echoes the curve of the petals below it. But in the original, the orange of the flower and the green leaves that contrasted with it competed too much for attention. Here, with the image as a monochrome, your eye can more easily follow the lines along the petals.
— continued via the following link…

Read the rest of Ann’s post at  Monochrome (and Duotone) Magic

Reblogged by Liz with permission; Exploring Colour (2018)

13 thoughts on “Monochrome Magic

Add yours

    1. You’re welcome Ann. It was particularly fascinating for me to see what you’d done with the Crown Imperials as I’m familiar with their distinctive and colourful appearance but your version showcased other interesting characteristics that aren’t so readily apparent when you see them in colour!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: