2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 25: B&W – Texture

Over the course of the year, and in previous years, we’ve talked about key elements that make black and white photography distinctly different from color photography. This week we’ll focus on one of those elements: TEXTURE. Texture sounds like something rooted in the physical world, but it can also be conceptual. To use textures effectively in black and white, you need to visualize how something  in color will “feel” in a black and white photo.  Texture is one of those words that has many meanings, and how it’s interpreted varies for each person, especially in photography.

None of Us Knows What Changes, Big or Small, Lie Ahead//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
You can think of it as the physical, tactile qualities of a surface – something you can feel. But texture in photography goes beyond the physical surface of the subject. If you look at the photo above you might say it has a “gritty” feel, but if you actually touched the wood you might describe the tactile sensation as wet and soft.

Texture can have multiple layers within a photo. Think about the physical structure of an object, and patterns within the structure. Look at the size, shape, contrast, and repetition of patterns. The rope in the image above certainly has a fibrous texture, but the repetition and lines also give the composition texture. Visualize the rope without the individual fiber strands – just the pattern – and you see texture of the image.

In photography, texture often comes from the combination and interrelation elements within the composition, not from the surface of those elements. Texture in photography can derive from patterns within the photograph that get emphasized in black and white. Texture flows from other elements of photography – lines, patterns, repetition, and contrast. 
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And don’t forget about nature. Most of our human creations that become photographic subjects are based in textures and patterns found in nature. Talking a walk in the woods or along a beach can provide more than enough inspiration for this week’s challenge.

Pictureline has excellent blog post on principles of black and white photography with a section on texture. It’s well worth the read, not just for this challenge, but for all black and white photography. 

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.



About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.