There is something particularly powerful about pairing black and white. It’s as if a sophisticated drama takes hold of the atmosphere when the combination is used, which is evidenced by the above room designed by Sanchez + Coleman and photographed by Ken Hayden. One of the most forceful ways to introduce the duality into a space is through photography, as a black and white image will almost always heighten emotion regardless of the color of the wall on which it is hung or the style of the room in which it is placed.
I’d like to thank Palacek Design for putting this on my radar (it’s their Wrapped Rope Stool placed in front of the table).
I offer as proof a comparison of the warm vignette above, produced by Studio Seiders, in which black and white photography adds to the modernity; and the classically formal setting below, a shot of the Christian Dior Suite at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic in Cannes designed by Kirei Studio. Each holds a framed black and white print that evokes a similar response even though the subjects are very different. The more modern milieu elicits the mystery of nature and an expansiveness introduced by bringing the outdoors inside. The photograph in the traditionally designed space in Cannes captivates through a sense of confinement; it’s as if the flounces of fabric that unfurl from the woman’s torso drive the senses into hyper focus.
The Christian Dior Suite at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic in Cannes designed by Kirei Studio.
You might be wondering what inspired me to launch into this meditation on the power of black and white in interiors. The motivation is a book that landed in my mailbox recently. It isn’t often that I find myself wishing I could frame image after image from any given photography book, but this is exactly what happened as I leafed through the pages of Dream of Venice in Black and White. With each visual I studied, I envisioned the photographs bringing an exquisite soulfulness to a space, a stirring emotionality I wanted to introduce into my surroundings with greater intention.
This is when it occurred to me that a book like this can actually be a resource for design professionals who are always on the lookout for new sources for art. I’m only sharing a handful of my favorite photos in this post; to see all of the stunning images, you can preorder the book, which will begin shipping on September 5th. I’m providing links to the featured photographers’ websites below so you can see other images and/or order prints produced by them if they appeal to you as much as they do me.
This haunting image by Giulio Zanni, shot in 2016, is titled “Salute.” You can contact him through his website to inquire about purchasing prints.
Fabio Bressanello, who has a lovely shop in Venice and handles image requests through the contact page on his website, took this photograph of a snowy Venice in 2018.
Matteo Chinellato snapped this remarkable image, which is one of my favorites in the book. Titled “Poveglia,” he took the expressive shot in 2015. Prints of his work are offered through Saatchi Art.
This image by Tony Sellen, which he took in 2017, is titled “Don Vito.” You can contact him for prints through his website, London Fine Art Photography.
Garry Wapshott took the image featured on the title page of Dream of Venice in Black and White. He photographed the watery composition he named “Reflection during acqua alta Piazza San Marco” in 2000. You can buy his prints from this online store.
There are 80 remarkable images in this book and most of the photographers have websites through which you can contact them for prints. If you’re so inspired that waiting for the book makes you feel impatient, you will find all of the photographers in the book who have websites on the Dream of Venice in Black and White page on the Bella Figura Publications website. Scroll to the bottom and you can click through on the names of the ones who have links.
I nominate this artful title as the perfect bedside companion to flip through before going to sleep. I can’t think of a better way to inspire yourself to dream of Venice, or as they say so much more lyrically in Italian,sogno di Venezia.