Archive for the ‘Monochrome photography’ Tag

I’m Dangerous Tonight

“Beside her, her husband could only splutter, and he stopped even that when she half turned to flash him a smile – the instinctive, brilliant smile of a woman who knows what feeble creatures men can be. You couldn’t learn to smile like that. It was something a woman either knew the minute she was born, or never knew at all.”

Cornell Woolrich, The Fantastic Stories of Cornell Woolrich, “I’m Dangerous Tonight”

Black and White for Berry’s Monday Meme — Updated

Berry shot

I’m a lover of black-and-white photography — the way photographs used to be done, before Kodachrome gave us those nice bright colors 1.  There was a different kind of artistry involved in shooting portraits in monochrome; composition and lighting took on different meanings, and shadows became more important for the setting of a mood.  So, when Berry Singh threw out this week’s Monday Memeshare a black-and-white head shot of your avatar — I leaped at the opportunity.

I’ll admit, this could use a lot more work, and I may do a repeat if I can improve the shot; I’d like a deeper shadow on the darker side of my face, and perhaps a more intriguing pose, more Hurrell-like.  (I did add a touch of blur to this photo to get some of that old-style glamour look in here.)  This makes an interesting first approximation, though, and gives me some thoughts on how to proceed to improve it.

  • Eyes:  Sterling Artistry Resin Eyes (Cognac)
  • Hair:  Truth Chilali
  • Jewelry:  Lazuri Kaya suite
  • WindLight:  Isa Fallen Angel


UPDATE:  February 6

As I wanted, I went back in and did a fresh shot.  I’m still not entirely satisfied; the hair/background interaction is too dark now to my eye.  But there’s a more level angle to this, and better shadows across the face, and my upraised hand gives more of a feel of life than a simple head pose.

Berry shot 2

1 Thank you, Paul Simon.
signature 3

Contact Sheet 27 — Monochrome

Contact Sheet is an irregular column of selected photographs and portraits from Residents of Second Life and other virtual worlds. All rights to featured images are reserved to the artists under appropriate copyright laws. Click on the links as necessary to go to the required blog, Flickr or Koinup page. Please go to these artists’ pages in any case to leave comments, (as well as comments here), if you have an account on the appropriate service.

Suggestions are appreciated; please send descriptions and links to me by in-world IM, notecard, E-mail to, or leave a comment below.

NOTICE: Some of the photos/links may contain nudity or other NSFW situations. Viewer discretion advised.


Black-and-white used to be the form of photography, as in the only form.  It took years for an effective, portable and inexpensive color film to be invented and produced in quantity, as you can tell by reading the brief mentions of how color film slowly crept into the pages of National Geographic [1].  In many artistic circles, monochrome is still the color scheme of choice.  To some, black and white makes the viewer focus on the image and what it’s saying instead of the colors and how pretty they are.

There are monochrome enthusiasts in the virtual worlds, too.  It takes a few GIMP tricks to make a color photograph into a black-and-white, but the results can be astounding.  One of my most popular pictures was of me posing as Rita Hayworth in Gilda; it has nearly 400 visits (as of this writing) at Koinup, and nearly 100 at the harder house (for me) of Flickr, with clutches of favorite marks at both.  I’ve done others since then, which are also popular.

But I’m not here to talk about me, but about other people’s work.  When groups were opened up at Koinup, I founded the Monochrome group explicitly for two-color pictures (I’m not fussy about if they’re b/w, sepia, blue/white, etc.).  Here’s just a small selection of some of the best in my opinion.  (Please note that many names on Koinup are more opaque than you’ll find in other photo groups; we’ll have to settle for more of an alias than normal, except in the few places where I know the photographer.)


Pure geometry and the effectiveness of simple light sources are fundamental in photoliv42’s Geometrix_1.  Beyond the simple rendition of color into black and white (doable with just a few clicks), this took some addition of a “reflection” of a building or similar source — perhaps the squares themselves — onto the surface of the sphere.  This could have been done either in post-production, or by photographing the squares themselves and layering the shot as a texture over the sphere.  Either way, very cleverly done!


Frequent “contributor” Connie Arida gives us After Helmut, which is inspired by the nude photography of Helmut Newton.  Myself, I think this is rather more tasteful than what I’ve seen of Newton’s catalogue, but your mileage may vary on Newton’s lack or not of excellence.  As far as I can see, this self-portrait works.  As does Nude Study by LoweRuno, a more intimate setting between a man and woman avatar.


More, including this column’s feature photo, after the break….

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