Love in Black and White

by Terri Sapienza, Washington Post
June 9, 2005

Chicago-based photographer Steven E. Gross wants to change the way we look at weddings. His book, “Black and White: Defining Moments of Weddings and Marriage,” just may do that.

Not your typical wedding book, “Black and White”-first published in 2002 and relaunched this year-is part showcase of Gross’s work and part intimate vignettes of weddings and marriage offered by everyday people. (He’s not your typical wedding photog either; he makes, on average, $10,000 to shoot a wedding in Chicago, more for out-of-state jobs.)

Gross, who shoots only in black-and-white, says he prefers the medium over color because “[it] takes a step away from reality. We see in color, so it’s different with black-and-white. It has a timeless quality. It creates instant nostalgia.”

Rather than take the usual groups-standing-in-a-row-with-forced-smiles shots that fill so many albums (“firing-squad photography” he calls it), Gross watches for the stolen, unposed moments: newlyweds kissing in a stairwell, a contemplative bride moments before putting on her gown; a toast-giver pausing over his notes. The photographs offer a glimpse behind the planned perfection of so many weddings-often where the true drama and romance of the day takes place.

A lovely token for brides-to-be, “Black and White” will not provide details about the latest in wedding fashions and flower arrangements, but it may offer betrothed couples something even more valuable: a reminder of why they decided to get married in the first place.

“Black and White” is available in both hardcover ($35) and softcover editions ($30) by calling 888-509-9393 or by emailing