Lenka brings artistry of black and white photography to iPhones


Filters often define mobile photographs, but they also manipulate color. Then there’s Lenka, a black and white photo app that’s so simple, it doesn’t even allow you to use a “flash” or front-facing camera – so you can’t even snap a selfie with this app.

The charm with black and white photography is often displayed in its artistry to demonstrate light as a narrative. Of course, masters of photography like Ansel Adams have been perfecting the medium for ages, even before the iPhone. Naturally, the use of filters on iPhone photos to replicate what’s done with a film camera and hours of dark room manipulation can be a bit of challenge. It’s further inhibited by the medium’s limited screen resolution.  

This isn’t to say that color is bad or evil. Here, Lenka’s founder, photographer Kevin Abosh, talks about his love for black and white photography.

What’s wrong with the color?

I love color!   I love how color speaks to us emotionally, similar to how music moves us.  Black and white can also work emotionally, but I love how it quickly brings the viewer to focus on the morphology and composition of the subject.  It demands critical analysis, but not at the expense of beauty.  Black & white, by its nature is an abstraction from reality.  Perhaps this is why so many think of it as being more ‘artsy’… Because it lacks the realism of color.

What Lenka offers is a simple camera function to replicate some of the nuances of the grayscale style without losing some of the finer details. You can’t bring in any photo to make it black and white. Lenka is only a camera app with simple tools. If you need extra light, there’s an option to keep it on, but not as a flash. Then, you can choose high contrast or regular. That’s it. Lenka is not a social network, so you’ll have to send it to Instagram or Facebook for others to see.