The 1961 portrait of actress Audrey Hepburn from her film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is most famous in black and white reproductions. The photograph features Hepburn as character Holly Golightly. She is sitting at a restaurant table wearing a black dress with black opera gloves holding a foot-long cigarette holder. On her head is a tiara and around her neck is a thick row of pearls. The use of black and white gives the portrait an elegant mood.
The absence of color adds an air of elegance to photography portraits. Photographers once used black and white film because color film was not yet invented. But even after the advent of color film, some chose to use black and white film as a tool. Black and white takes focus off a photograph's background and places it on the central figure. Many iconic images of revolution, famine and stardom have been captured in black and white.
Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon's 1957 portrait of Marilyn Monroe is a well known of the actress. In the picture Monroe is wearing a black sequined halter dress and staring into the lower right-hand corner of the frame. The photo was taken at after a party and photo shoot in New York City. The photo captures what Avendon calls an "inevitable drop" in Monroe's mood that occurred after parties. The portrait was featured in a 1975 show at Marlborough Gallery in New York and now belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
"Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange's 1936 portrait "Migrant Mother" captures a homeless woman named Florence Owens Thompson and her two children at a pea picker's camp in Nipomo, California. Florence touches her left cheek as she stares into the distance. The two children hide their faces behind her shoulders. Lange took the photo while working as a photographer of migrant farmers for the United States Resettlement Administration.
"Guerrillero Heróico" by Albert Korda
Alberto Korda's 1960 portrait of Argentine revolutionary of Che Guevara is a widely known photograph. The portrait was taken during a political protest in Havana, Cuba. The picture features Guevara wearing a black beret and looking towards the upper left hand of the frame. Today the portrait is featured on flags, t-shirts and posters. The picture is often used to indicate revolutionary ideologies and was a popular image in the American youth movement of the late 1960s.
- The Guardian; "Audrey Hepburn: an iconic problem"; Alex Cox; January 2011
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City
- Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Reading Room: Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection: An Overview
- Primary Source: Photograph of Che Guevara
Black and White Photography Techniques
Black and white photography is classy, stylish and can make even amateur shots look like they were taken by a professional. It...
How to Plan a Black & White Party
A black & white party is an event theme famously popularized by novelist Truman Capote in 1966. Capote hosted his Black &...
Mother & Son Portrait Ideas
Mother & Son Portrait Ideas. Set the right mood for a mother and son portrait by deciding what you want out of...
Ideas for Black & White Party Decorations
Ideas for Black & White Party Decorations. To celebrate his success after releasing the true crime classic "In Cold Blood," Truman Capote...
Avedon Lighting Techniques
Avedon Lighting Techniques. Richard Avedon is an American photographer. As a fashion photographer in the early 1940's and into the '70's, Avedon...
Fashionable Halloween Costume Ideas
Fashionable Halloween Costume Ideas. Halloween is a chance to show off your retro style, inner rock star or runway-ready fashionista. Instead of...
How to Become a Marilyn Monroe Impersonator
Buy a white dress, similar to the one that Marilyn famously wore in "The Seven Year Itch." That dress has become iconic...