I’m not always a fan of black and white photos, although I can see beauty in them.
Perhaps I’m just a color-a-holic, I need my fix of color to make things really come alive for me. Maybe it’s because a large portion of family photos in my possession were taken with black and white film.
Family pictures in color didn’t appear until the early 1960’s in my collection. Even though color film existed, I think it was expensive to purchase and also to have processed.
When I look back at those old family pictures, I find myself wondering what color was my mom’s dress in that one or was that new car my dad is proudly standing beside silver or blue? I would like to have seen what my mother-in-law’s hair color was when she was younger because all of my memories of her are with gray hair.
Color would just make those photos come alive for me, I think. But instead, I must imagine the colors when I view the pictures.
And that’s probably why I don’t often choose to share photos in black and white unless they are for nostalgic purposes. But today, I have to put my preference for color photos aside. Because today – at last! – I am completing the very last challenge in the Developing Your Eye workshop that I missed last summer.
Day 10 is the end. A wrap. And that day’s theme was architecture, but the directive was to photograph the subject in black and white.
And if you know me really well or have read my blog for long, you’ll understand that phrase – black and white – dials up song lyrics in my brain (of course). A popular group in the 1970’s, Three Dog Night, performed a song entitled “Black and White.”
The music and its lyrics are playing in my head right now:
The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light.
And those old song lyrics speak to me today to remind me that color doesn’t matter, at least on people’s skin. Regardless of our color, we are all human, all brothers and sisters, all inhabitants of this earth and for our future generations’ sake, we need to see the light of living together in peaceful harmony. A wishful thought perhaps, but I believe it’s what we are called to do.
As much as some folks seem to think, the world isn’t just divided into black and white. No, there are different hues and shades and a myriad of ways of looking at an issue. Not just one way or another. Not polar opposites. Not my way or the highway. There’s an entire spectrum of varying colors in between that we need to consider to see the full picture.
I think I found varying colors in a photo I snapped entirely for this photography theme. Even though I wasn’t actively involved in the workshop when it was being promoted, the themes were still mulling around in my mind and occasionally a picture just presented itself to me for a certain theme.
The picture I’ve showcased here is one I captured on a cold, clear January day during a visit to our nearby city. It screamed architecture to me for obvious reasons. I mean, just look at this building. And it made one gorgeous color photograph with a gorgeous blue sky backdrop.
But the directive for this theme was to capture architecture in black and white – monochrome – because that can create one very dramatic photo. The instructions were to “look for architectural elements that translate into black and white: sharp lines, patterns, defined shapes, large surface areas, and a mix of very light and very dark colors.”
I think I was successful. And I’m glad I was successful in completing the photography course, even if it was several months later. But my biggest hope? To continue viewing my world as a mix of colors and being grateful for it.
“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” ~ Julia Morgan (1872-1957) American architect