Photo Essay: Rome in Black and White

Back when I still wanted to write a dozen or more review posts to end 2014, a “Best 14 photos of 2014” was definitely something on my agenda. I know I’ve been saying this ever since I first started stealing the boyfriend’s dSLR back in late 2012, but the last year was an important year for my photography. I’ve come a long way since not knowing that a body and a lens are actually the two separate pieces that make a camera two years ago.

Rome, Italy in black and white
Street-side books in Testaccio

In 2013, I bought my first prime lens, which taught me so much about how to compose and frame an image. I went from shooting in P mode to shooting in A mode. I realized what people meant when they said “zoom with your feet”. I believed I finally understood some of the crucial parts of photography.

But honestly, I had no clue of just how much I didn’t know back then and how much there always still is to learn.

In 2014, I tried to soak in every little info I could find about photography. I learned to shoot on manual, I learned to edit photos in Lightroom, I learned to hate chromatic aberration, I learned to make people comfortable in front of my camera so I could take great portraits.

But most of all, I finally understood the most important part about photography, not matter what camera you use: Photography is painting with light. It’s always about the light. Every single time, light is what defines an image.

Rome, Italy in black and white
Street crossings in the early evening 

In the “Best 14 photos of 2014” article I originally wanted to write towards the end of 2014, I wanted to show how much I learned this year, how I finally understood the importance of light, and how my photography had changed throughout the year.

Rome, Italy in black and white
Roman facades in the morning sun 

But as I started going through my photos from 2014, I realized that most of my favorite photos were actually taken in Rome. My camera settings were still often wrong in Rome, and since that trip I picked up so many things that could have been useful to know before.

But despite my lack of professional equipment and my sometimes unsuitable camera settings, my Rome photos really prove that I learned to understand the relevance of light this year: Every single photo is a story of light and shadows — I really love them for showing it this way.

Rome, Italy in black and white Narrow streets next to the Campo Fiori

I turned my favorite photos from Rome into black and white, because color sometimes distracts from what makes in image special. In black and white though, the shapes, the structures, the composition, and the speciality of the lighting situation become the most clear.

Rome, Italy in black and white
Artichokes at the market 

Rome, Italy in black and white My sister hunting down an insider gelato place recommendation near the Piazza Navona 

Rome, Italy in black and white
Afternoon light, people, and a perfect alignment

Rome, Italy in black and white How many interesting shadow formations can you find in this photo?

Rome, Italy in black and white
If it hadn’t been for my brilliant food tour with Walks of Italy, I never would have entered this shop full of cured meats. But even a vegetarian can appreciate the artistically framing value of prosciutto and hanging sausages.

Rome, Italy in black and white
I don’t like Baroque architecture very much, but the light in St Peter’s Basilica is just out-of-this-world-beautiful. 

Rome, Italy in black and white The exit of Santa Sabina all’Aventino, one of my favorite churches in Rome. 

Rome, Italy in black and white
I was watching the steps I was walking down, but when I briefly looked up and saw these four guys walking towards me, I knew I HAD TO get this shot right away. 

Rome, Italy in black and white A woman walking into the Pantheon at night

Rome, Italy in black and white
View into and through a restaurant I couldn’t afford — but I borrowed the view for a little while. 

Rome, Italy in black and white
Nighttime at the Trevi Fountain 

Which photo of Rome in black and white do you like best?
And did you learn something crucial about photography lately?