18 February 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” Robert Frank (b. 1924)
During the first week of this month Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began an iPhoneography Monday Challenge. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. This week’s theme is black-and-white photography, giving us a chance to strut our monochromatic images.
I am a true devotee to black-and-white photography. In reality a certain set of conditions need to be present to render these photographs worthy, and give the originals new meaning. Since color photography did not proliferate the mainstream market until the late 1950s and 1960s, the monochrome had a long run as a way to stop time.
Still, for success there has to be contrast through darks and lights. Illuminations–subtle or blatant–become key to a monochrome’s ability to stand the visual test. Dominate parts must stir the mind’s palette so that the sum of the parts clearly differentiate: giving range, shape, substance, texture, and tone to the subject or subjects.
American Landscape photographer Ansel Addams was a master of the black-and-white. His scenes documented the landscape of twentieth-century West, and majestically used brilliantly monochromatic descriptors. Scale vs. details were made clear by his attention to lighting, depth of field, shadows, and shapes.
In the Lens section are my entries for this week’s iPhoneography Challenge. Each uses the monochromatic feature slightly differently. The first displays a glass surface that brings layers of contrast and reflection through the white framing of the window’s panes. The second shows the slick surface of the street where the sun cast its rays upon the frozen water with black mortar as a foil for the ice. The last is the vaulted ceiling at Longwood Gardens where the day’s light bursts through and defines the tropical palm tree.
While early photographers edited their monochromes in the darkroom, we can use our iPhones, computers and tablets to convert color to grayscale. Or use an app that immediately takes the image to black and white. Either method can produce some memorable images that pierce our reactions in ways that are somewhat opposite to our multi-colored universe.
iPhoneography Tip of the Week: As bedtime nears I have a relatively new ritual–that is, a by-product of my iPhone 4s purchase this past June. My discovery of Flipboard, was a bonus of huge proportions. For those of you who do not know this app, let me explain.
When you learn about its benefits and features, I believe that you will be pumped to get this FREE online social magazine. It’s brilliantly conceived and executed for the iPhone and iPad.
While Flipboard is a news and tech source, its Fotopedia is where I spend my time. When I open the app, there is always a cover story to read. But I use my thumb to skip right to the iPhoneography and Photos sections.
Then and there I am privy to all the photos uploaded for the day and the last few days. It’s easy to become familiar with contributors. But it’s the quality of their images that keep me returning.
Every image has something to teach me about iPhoneography: what can be as I explore my own creativity with this photographic innovation. For a brief tutorial, click here.
Here is a sample of an iPhoneographers who regularly posts on Flipboard: John Mallon. See more of this mobile artist’s work here. Scroll through his art and be amazed at variations on the theme: iPhoneography.
Check these other entries in today’s challenge: