20 January 2014
Let me know which is your favorite in Part I and II.
When I was contemplating the images to display for this challenge, the notion of black and white as individual colors surfaced. The twinkling of an idea reappeared from the past, taking images that are mostly black or white.
I also wanted to touch on the banter that circles around each as color or non-color. There is the argument that both are the absence of color. There is also much discussion about black as the combination of the primary colors and white as the absence of coloration.
When the primaries (blue, red and yellow) are mixed the result is close to black, but is not a black black. White is seen when the spectrum of colors are reflected off a surface, and none remain.
I’ve always thought that if we cannot perceive color, then how can we see white. How do we see nothing? Is one positive and the other negative space? Is one the more dramatic and the other more pure? And when we see the dark of night, are we seeing or not seeing. Well, it’s all about light that miracle of all miracles, and the heroine that helps sustains life.
Science explains it this way: A surface which contains all colors will be seen as black, because the viewer perceives that no colors are being reflected. Whereas to realize white, the observer sees all colors reflected. This explanation is the path to: black is color and white is not.
Most of us do not contemplate this approach to color as we live among it each and every moment of our awakening and sleeping. We simple “assume” that color just is.
Technically, the creation of color pigments is a whole other area. The print industry, for example, uses four colors (CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to make its products. The primaries need help.
While in the digital darkroom I decided to experiment with some images that the human eye sees as mostly black or white. In each image we would not see anything without the other pigment to create a subject.
In the Lens section are two images that I transformed into an additional six. My purpose was to see variations on the theme. To see where the light and dark areas were arranged and rearranged. Image four is blurred to lessen the effects of the branches, seemingly bridging the two areas that define the subject. The last image reverses the colors, and renders the stairwell mostly white.
Light is a companion and key to define our color-coded existence. Variations are inherent. White is white or not. Black is black or not.
What I find most astonishing is that we have for so long been able to reproduce and manipulate colors. Now twenty-first century technology offers me the capability to produce images relatively quickly in comparison to darkroom techniques or handmade drawings or easel-based paintings. I continue to be awed by what can be accomplished at my iMac or iPhone.
Mostly, color’s velocity of inspiration pushes us to create a techicolored world that also engages monochromatic wonders. The black of black and the white of white are sparkling examples of what makes our universe masterful.
Inherently, we become barely aware of our usual surroundings. Especially in our visually-laden environment colors brushing against our external world can easily go unnoticed. Those of us who are responsive to our visual spaces are more attuned to the color chart of our lives. Still we also can be neglectful.
The camera is a perfect human invention to help us seize and steady what we see. It helps us move back and forth between the palette of monochrome and pigment. It certainly makes us constantly vigilant.
We can fill our cups with the signature of the visual in all of its contrasts, shades and tones. That mix can be serendipitous, or it can be planned.
Regardless, I am continually amazed by the near precision of the human animal to accomplish certain feats. Our ability to mimic and reproduce nature’s performance in color or monochrome is one of our greatest triumphs.
View other entries to the challenge here:
Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.
If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.
Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).