Black and white photography is known for drawing our attention to composition and adding drama to a scene or story. This makes it one of the go-to visual styles for those who want to explore or heighten emotive themes and topics.

Today’s featured photographer, Katarina Galić from Bosnia and Herzegovina, is one of them, and among the creative minds who I find fascinating for their use of the craft. If you’re interested in pushing the boundaries of your black and white photography, be prepared to enter a monochrome mind full of raw emotions and dark atmosphere.

Documenting the drama in human beings

“My photos are mostly self-portraits. I want to document the drama of the human being through visual language. I want to show emotions, fear, anger, anxiety, frustrations,” Galić said of her photography, which she only recently started to do more intensively. Guided by her expertise in Printmaking, she explores her visual language in photography through the motif of the human figure.

In the handful of sets I’ve seen so far, I find her style to be hypnotic and primal with the different ways she uses contrast, light, shadows and textures to play with viewers’ imaginations and emotions. In her own words, however, she describes her technique as an “expressive style that flirts with the surreal at certain moments.”

“My works depict various emotions through a mystical atmosphere. Sometimes it is the movement of the hand, sometimes a great contrast of the background and body, sometimes deformities of the face or body parts. With all this, I record the usual physical and emotional states of the human figure.”

Occupying the viewer through emotions

I’ve always believed that the most effective photos are those that catch the viewer’s attention to make them feel, incite a reaction or spark a realization. I’m glad that she feels the same way and incorporates it in her work.

“Photography, as well as other works of art, are made great by the fact that they occupy the viewer. By showing certain emotions, I occupy the viewer in a way that the work intrigues him and makes him think.”

Galić also mentioned that while she was developing her distinct style during her fine arts study, she endeavored to use deformations to show the emotions that record everyday frustrations. The absence of color, along with the addition of gritty textures and variations in contrast, effectively heightened the impact of these deformations.

“I think the artwork should be a reflection of the artist as well as the times in which he lives,” she added, which I see useful both for understanding her work and guiding our own. “I think that the work is done when nothing can be taken away or added to it. It is a measure by which I am guided through work.”

Don’t forget to visit Katarina Galić’s Behance portfolio to see more of her unique black and white photography.

All photos by Katarina Galić. Used with permission.