Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Black and Whites

As I've mentioned, my parents were photographers.  While I have no gift for framing the world from behind a camera, I can appreciate photography in ways most people don't.  Having seen the drama that went on behind the scenes, before digital photography made it instant and easy, I appreciate how much of a great photograph is patience, chance, or an eye for lighting.  I see how flaws can enhance images by revealing truths and how a bit of retouching can fool us.  Producing a couple's wedding album used to take hundreds of hours of labor from pre-wedding interviews to understand how the wedding was planned out and who were the important players in a story to processing film, editing proofs (really, some of the best images were never seen by brides because those images didn't support their view of the event), to helping a couple chose the images for their album that told a story with no words.  My mom one national awards for her albums, and that was because she understood how a story must have a purpose and a plot, and how some stories needed some heavy editing to be beautiful.

One of the best parts of photography are black and white images.  By removing color, which can be distracting or defining, we can see truths that aren't as easily grasped by our everyday naked eyes.  Baby skin glows in black and white, while fine lines and wrinkles can map out the story of an old woman's life. Secrets in our eyes can sparkle through and grab our attention.  By removing the differences in coloration, we can see great similarity or difference between us and our kindred, Texture and form jump out, when they are more typically hidden from our conscious attention. depending on whose portrait we examine and when it was taken.  There is a timeless quality to black and white images that lets us re-frame our thoughts, if we allow it.

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