Have you noticed? – The return of black backgrounds


Recently I’ve spied quite a few photographs of flowers and flower arrangements featuring very dark or black backgrounds. This is not new in the depiction of flowers, but it is a swerve away from the de rigueur of the ‘computer white’ backgrounds so prevalent across the online world.

Pale colours are contrasted and highlighted by a dark background and interestingly the foliage greens appear more striking.


Naturally, this has all been explored before during the Dutch Golden Age. Inventive Dutch 17th-century artists created beautiful, dramatic flower paintings against dark or black backgrounds. Currently, there’s an extremely gifted contemporary photographer, Paulette Tavormina also working in this area producing some fascinating images – well worth a look.

Group of Flowers - Willem van Aelst
Group of Flowers – Willem van Aelst (1627 – after 1687) Oil on Canvas. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.


Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

9 thoughts on “Have you noticed? – The return of black backgrounds”

  1. Hmmm. I had not noticed but now I do, now that you mention this. I do like a black background, somehow more mysterious, richer, maybe? But of course it also matters what compliments the subject, too, for contrast. Still, all things equal, I think black is just – classier?

    1. I agree with you and I like the drama. I think compositions that might work well on a backlit screen are very different to printed photographs and original paintings. I suppose these days so much is viewed on a screen that perhaps the ‘ways of looking’ have adapted. Also peoples’ home interiors have become lighter so maybe darker works don’t offer the right feel.

      1. Yes, I agree with both ideas. I know that I associate dark backgrounds, not just black, but red or green or blue, as being more formal and maybe even “Victorian” and definitely not tech or minimalist, which I think a lot of design strives for right now.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I like the first one best, but as usual photo still not as lovely as in real life. And, of course, sadly, you can’t smell their perfume!

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