7 Years of Black & White Photography

How I came to love monochrome and why I am sticking with it

Anne Murayama
8 min readJan 13, 2020

If you scroll through my Instagram, you’ll see thousands of posts of black & white photos. But if you had the luxury of time and reaaaaaaaaaally swipe all the way through, something which I haven’t done myself, you would see my — surprise! — vividly colored pictures. Because hey, everyone has to start differently, right?

But if you know someone whom you secretly call “the black & white lady” or “a zebra in human form”, that would be me. And it all boils down to one freaking question:

“Erin, why do you like taking pictures in black & white?”

A blank slate, the zeroth frame

It all began in the winter of 2013. It was my first time to visit Tokyo, my dream country since my Sailor Moon days in elementary, so you wouldn’t imagine how thrilled I was when my Visiting Relatives Japanese Visa for 6 months was approved. At that time, though, I was in an unhealthy on-off relationship and after just a month of trying to make long-distance work, he called it off and I was heartbroken.

So I sulked. I wasn’t in the mood to take pictures but since it was my first time in Japan and everything amazed me, I still brought my cameras with me wherever I went. But because I was feeling down, I didn’t want my pictures to appear lively. So at first, it was intentional. I started by casually posting pictures on Instagram using one…

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Anne Murayama

fka Erin Cross. Based in Tokyo, Japan. Black and white visual storyteller.