Phoneography Challenge: Black-and-White

17 June 2013


1. Mid-Afternoon Freight Train, iPhone 4s, June 2103; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Mid-Afternoon Freight Train, iPhone 4s, June 2103; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Late Afternoon Cloudscape, iPhone 4s, June 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Late Afternoon Cloudscape, iPhone 4s, June 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Gracie (, Polly ( and I began the iPhoneography Monday Challenge in February. Recently, we had a re-launch that made the challenge open to everyone who uses their Smartphones as their lens–exclusively, experimentally, frequently, occasionally, or back-up. Check here for that post. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. Please use the current badge until a new one is created.  

Many authors, professionals and scholars will tell you that to become a better writer, you must read, read, read. Then read more.

I easily extend this immersion into my photography. I spend much time browsing and staring at the masters and those who reside on the continuum. To graze across pages or visit galleries and museums that display different styles, blossoming talents, imaginative design, vivid sensibilities, narrative skills, and various techniques is to secure invaluable lessons.

Most of the greats that I admire and study are genius black-and-white photographers. Their photographic eye is a vision to behold. Their originality is on exhibit. As their images inspire, they also push my own sense of what can be stilled.

Each discovery of an artist’s work can bring untold expansion to my own vision. My latest obsession is the work of Brazilian documentary photographer, photojournalist and author Sebastiao Salgado, who is a voice for social justice. His work produces an emotional wave that brings more than a moment in time.

Since he became a professional photographer, he has leaned toward the monochrome. The black-and-white print has become his palette of choice.

Salgado’s current photographic oeuvre describes the threat of habitat change that affects humans, the land and wildlife. He dives into projects, which are created to push his high regard for nature and the need to preserve what remains.

Photography by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

Photograph by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

Photography by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

Photograph by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

"Africa" by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

“Africa” (2010) by Sebastiao Salgado, Google Images

“Genesis” is Salgado’s third major project. A book and traveling exhibition that recently premiered in London, it interweaves his environmentalism and aesthetics. These visually dazzling photographs never strain to tell his tale. They are memorable in their dialogue with us, making their points and documenting the vulnerability of our planet. If you live in Toronto, Rio, Rome and Paris, the exhibition is coming your way.

If you’ll be in London this summer, please see the exhibition at the Natural History Museum through 08 September. The museum is known for its nature photography, and this show adds to its already stellar worldwide reputation.

You’ll be influenced by Salgado’s ability to weave elements of tension and peril into a pictorial story. He has succeeded in giving us “a portrait of the planet” that he hopes can be saved. He also hopes that more of us will do our part. For more about the exhibition, click here.

I’m sharing my admiration for this man’s artistry and mission, because his work inspires. The sheer beauty and majesty of his photographs praises Mother Nature. They also plea for us to build a symbiotic relationship with her. As important, his magnificently-printed images record glorious vistas of our planet’s treasures.

Salgado is a humble artist who is more interested in presenting a narrative than gorgeous natural wonders. These quotes provide some insight into his philosophy:

“…my way of photographing is my way of life. I photograph from my experience, my way of seeing things, and it is very difficult to tell you whether I photograph in one style or another.” Excerpts from an interview with Sebastiao Salgado by Ken Lassiter, Photographer’s Forum

“You photograph with all your ideology.” – Popular Photography – issue of March 2008, p. 127.

“I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions.”

In the Lens section are my selections for today’s challenge. I’m trying to show nature on the move, her intersection with human nature, and how they weave a tapestry from the individual threads of my small universe.

Tip of the Week: Click here to view Sebastiao Salgado’s TED Talk on “The Silent Drama of Photography.” And to learn about the book, Genesis, click here.

Here are other entries:

Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. The following is a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming challenges.  

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black-and-White

4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Phoneography Challenge: Black-and-White

  1. Su Leslie says:

    Love the cloudscape; very atmospheric. Here’s my take on the challenge.

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  4. Miss Lou says:

    The second. I love cloud pictures. I cannot get over the amazing quality that Camera Phones take these days. Amazing. My Android HTC has taken some of the most amazing panoramic and Action shots I’d seen. When I went to the website to check out what other people were up to, I was really amazed. Stunning pictures and some of what I’ve seen on here just reinforces that.

    • We’d be happy to have you join our Phoneography Monday Challenge. It’s so much fun. Many thanks for your comment.

      • Miss Lou says:

        How do I go about submitting one of my photographs into the challenge?

      • Within the text of your post, you need to link back to me on Monday of the challenge. The link will send me a Pingback. Then I will list you among the entries. Take a look at the Black-and-White post. You’ll see the entries listed at the end of my post with links to their blogs. I’m delighted that you will join the fun. Also go to my Homepage and read under the title Phoneography Challenge 2013, which is below the image on the masthead, and read the general guidelines. Happy Phonoegraphy Challenge.

      • Miss Lou says:

        So is Monday now for you, or should I wait for next week to enter? It’s Tuesday here in Australia 🙂

      • A number of people will enter any time during the week. But most keep to Monday. So feel free to enter any time until the weekend.

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  7. Su Leslie says:

    Great photos; I particularly love the train. Not sure why. Here’s my take on the theme

  8. pjdonna says:

    freight train… choo… choo… love it!

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  10. Stepping out of my comfort zone Sally. : ) Hugs

  11. Is that the train we encountered during our walk into town? It looks a lot better in your photograph!

  12. munchow says:

    Two excellent iPhone pictures, my favourite is the one with the dramatic and very dynamic sky. And I certainly understand your obsession with Salgado. His photos are breathtaking.

  13. Great detailed set-up on this week’s b&w phoneographic challenge. Appreciate the added links to those pros photogs, and your set of photos were spot on. Nicely done! Here; my take on the theme: Ebony & Ivory –

  14. Gracie says:

    Awesome photos, Sally. Love the cloudscape. There is so much drama there.

  15. Gallivanta says:

    Thanks for the links to Salgado. I can see why you find him inspirational.

  16. scsurfbutler says:

    The train is definitely on the move. Will check out more of Salgado’s work. Thanks for the priceless information you provide.

  17. icastel says:

    The train for me! I like the way it splits the image in half and the lines it creates as it continues off into the distance. Good work Sally 🙂

    Here’s my entry for this week:

    A little bit of street photography that I actually posted on Saturday, so, hopefully it’s not breaking the rules too badly.

  18. Angeline M says:

    Thanks for the intro to this photographer. I also love to see and learn as much as I can from others. I really like your first photo, I have a “thing” for trains, and the black and white makes these trains look dramatic.
    Here is my entry for the week:

  19. Melanee says:

    Great pics. Love the one of the train and all its’ details. Here is mine for the week.

  20. EricaK says:

    To your question about the images above: though I like seeing the train cars in black and white because doing so masks – to an extent – the time and place, and I prefer the clouds. The shadows and hints of sunlight streaming through leave me wondering what the day was like – was a storm coming or a sun break emerging after the storm? Or was it one of those days where the vicissitudes of spring time kept you guessing?

  21. Sally, nice black and white choices today. Your cloud photo is lovely but I really like the strength of the mid afternoon freight train. My images are from an evening at the beach.

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  23. marialla says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your cloud picture!!!! I soooooooo love cloud pictures and it is one of my favourite subjects for picture taking whenever I fly. I think I take more or in any case the equal amount of cloud pictures to the ones on the ground of visitations. Thank you very much. Mari

  24. masadiso79 says:

    I like both shots but I prefer the clouds. I’m more of a dreamer… I’m happy I discovered your blogs. I’m definitely taking part to your challenge. I basically use my iPhone4 for 95% of the photographs I shoot. I hope you will like my entry! Congrats! 🙂

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  27. Enjoyed the cloud skyscape…with the rainy season starting we are getting into some great cloud scapes too. FUN!

  28. Jo says:

    Hello my name is Jo and I’m a cloudaholic :-p love them both but ohhh those clouds x

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