02 February 2015
Let me know which you prefer and why. Click to enlarge each image.
I was reminded this week about the four seasons—the way that Mother Nature keeps me attentive and hopeful. While the entire planet does not experience lyrics that create summer, winter, spring, and fall, the flow in my small universe from one to another is a dance of highs and lows that make me tremble with pronounced emotions.
Self-expression and exploration are responses to the usual and unexpected that accompany seasonal momentum. Now climate change brings an even greater focus on the swings in fluctuating weather and its effects on the planet’s health.
Winter’s paramount duty is freezing the layers of the soil, giving it a taste of dormancy and hibernation. Some will end their existence as the season takes them. The solid crust reaches down and down, hardening some living organisms that will be reborn with a new vibrancy for Spring’s renewal.
And while the previous years have wavered in their responsibilities, this season’s winterizing has done its job—weeks of frozen ground. In this seesawing of one year to the next a sense of polarity surfaces. These opposites also occur in everyday life, and are jammed with tension—tension that has pronounced effects upon the creative process.
Black-and-white photography is steeped in this paradox, the paradox of contradictions. Certainly, monochromatic images are perfect examples. The most accomplished images in black and white are those that push the limits of tension: grey scale, contrast, tone, negative and positive spaces, and so much more.
These opposites are more honored in Eastern philosophy than Western. Duality works against and for the whole, the complete. Natural forces are at work, and often incite imagination and innovation.
This constancy of pull between nature and human nature are analogous to the two hemispheres of the brain that work separately and together. They keep us wedded to the notion that, for example, yin and yang, good and evil, dark and light, thought and action, north and south, sun and moon are forever part of life. To resolve (momentarily or longer) the tension can bring harmony: certainly a conscious and an unconscious mission.
In the Lens section are two images that spiked my thoughts about tension–tension that can be more obvious and noticed in monochrome than color. The dichotomy created by the push and pull can bring greater drama and movement in an image. Without the distraction that technicolor usually exhibits, a viewer can more easily discern the true value and poignancy captured (the intention of the photographer): the story that resonates behind the photograph’s tension.
Tip of the Week: Matthew Smith is an accomplished nature photographer who specializes in wildlife images. His documentation of the undersea world are extraordinarily captivating.
Smith was last year’s Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year The above image of a Portuguese Man-o-War is his winning photograph.
“This photograph stops you in your tracks – the shock of electric blue against the black background is arresting and on contemplation the viewer can become lost in the cosmos like complexity of the bluebottles tentacles. The image is hard to fault. It is superb on all fronts: artistic, technical and choice of subject. The central composition and use of over-under photography allow us to take in the full visual impact of the bluebottle and it’s environment.” – Australian Geographic
“Honoured, humbled and bursting with pride at being named the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer if the Year 2014! The quality of work from the other finalists was so high I can’t quite believe I’m up there!” – Matthew Smith
Click here to see more of his photographs.
Other entries for this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.
If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.