Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Simplicity of Design in Technology)

15 June 2015


1. Setting Up the Entranceway; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Setting Up the Entranceway; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Setting Up the Entranceway; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Setting Up the Entranceway; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Please let me know which you prefer and why. Click onto each image to enlarge.


Street photography is known for its cheer and moodiness, light and dark moments, high and low-key sensibility, soft and stark angles and lines, big and small personalities, the mundane and ordinary, the new and the seasoned.

The wonder of today’s inventitveness has at its roots in convenience, efficiency and ingenuity. Much of street life also includes the latest of technological wizardry: moving signs, digitally-driven machines, self-managing money dispensers (ATMs). Innovations abound, especially in urban environments.

Technology has so many applications and forms that I had to gaze at its definition for my own curiosity. This description of technology is from

1. the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

2. the application of this knowledge for practical ends.

3. the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.

4. a scientific or industrial process, invention, method, or the like.

5. the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.

As I strolled onto UD campus prior to this month’s alumni weekend, I could easily apply some of those definitions to my observations.

I knew that temporary construction would generate my interest, and pre-construction technology used to erect a mammoth entranceway and towers begged for my attention.

Designs were at the intersection of architecture and art and engineering and science. And it is terribly hard to isolate these influences on technological invention and innovation. Truly, the confluence of these outside forces are present in our daily encounters, even in the simplest of objects.

Our technicolor visual universe is a continual distraction to the point that we miss the aesthetics and spirit of what is before us. Our attention is pulled this way and that. Our attention is scattered and sliced.

Since it often is impossible to reduce the instant stimulation of our visual culture,  I find solace in black-and-white photography. It focuses my inner lens on the immediate surroundings. It gives balance and nuance to what could easily be lost and not found.

In the Lens section are two images that reflect the simple yet eye-catching functional and utilitarian mechanisms created to build temporary structures. The machine that allowed a huge entranceway to grace the “green” was built as a welcome passage for thousands of past students to visit their alma mater for a weekend of campus life and reunions with alumni and faculty.

There I stood mesmerized by the heft of talent of a simple tool’s design- a design to execute a huge job efficiently. Immediately, my mind thought about the everyday object that has been a part of my entire life: the scissor (Funny, how the mind makes connections.). As conveniences keep multiplying with the new new, the scissor can hardly be beat in design and efficiency.

Technology has been a drive throughout the human journey. Its history repeats and repeats itself by mimicking designs and improving upon them. But I’m amused by how inventions play upon each other, and we seem to miss that all the time.

Tip of the Week: Monochrome Photography Awards, which is an International Black & White Photography Contest, is accepting entries until 29 November 2015. Categories are in two sections – Professional and Amateur. The winners of the main categories (it’s a long list) will compete for the titles: Monochrome Photographer of the Year (Professional) and Monochrome Discovery of the Year (Amateur). Click here to visit their website. On the site is another feature of the contest: “The work of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners (together with further entries that the judges feel are worthy of commendation) from both the professional and amateur sections will be published in Monochrome Photography Awards Annual Book. All names of the Honorable Mention winners will be also included in the book.” Please do review the winners from past years. The work is extraordinary.

Monochrome Photographer of the Year 2014, Professional, Neil Craver (USA)

Monochrome Photographer of the Year 2014, Professional, Neil Craver (USA)

View 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.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Design, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Simplicity of Design in Technology)

  1. says:

    Totally great ! I think I’ve been away a LONG time !

  2. Gallivanta says:

    I prefer the second shot because it satisfies my curiosity about what is happening. The Kiev barricade photo in your link is magnificent.

  3. elisa ruland says:

    I just picked up the book, “Eiffel’s Tower,” the story behind the monument, and your photographs reminded me of it’s construction, less today’s technology. Amazing projects, different eras. I like the first, an arc similar to the great Eiffel.

  4. I like the first! The perspective in that one!

  5. It is the first photo for me because it throws emphasis onto the upward movement.

  6. Lovely photos, Sally.I like the composition of the 2nd the best.
    Have a beautiful day.

  7. restlessjo says:

    How someone else looks through the lens of life can be endlessly fascinating, Sally. I prefer the first for its composition but neither is a shot that I would have thought to take. 🙂 Let alone convert to black and white.

    • I absolutely agree. That’s the process of learning that occurs when we view others’ work: the joy of our different individual ways of seeing what is before us. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  8. thirdeyemom says:

    An interesting one Sally. Mostly the themes are about nature and this one on technology, is it new? I always love your lens and pens!

    • Nicole, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I know that I favor Mother Nature and her infinite majesty. I also am a humanist with interests that are interdisciplinary and span such subjects as writing, the popular culture, art and literature, creativity, technology, visual culture, travel, human nature, and poetry.

  9. Oops I took this all in yesterday but didn’t comment. The first one seems to best highlight the drama of the vertical. I also like the black and white without shades.

  10. lumar1298 says:

    I like the 2nd one because I like to see almost the entire picture…

  11. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thought on technology; it has impacted on how we learn, think, communicate, … I like both photos. Here is my entry for this week:

  12. Su Leslie says:

    Always tough to choose a favoured image, but I think I prefer the composition of the second. Cheers, Su.

  13. The first photo gets my vote because it leads my eye across the photo. Interesting subject matter this week, Sally. And great that you captured it. I think it does lend itself to black and white. I actually found it quite difficult to find a photo that suited this week…. Have a great week!

  14. I like the angle of the 1st shot best

  15. Suzanne says:

    I like your thoughts and images here Sally. Engineering and construction fascinate me too. The second image has a stronger composition, I think with the contrast between the arch and the zig zags.

  16. Lignum Draco says:

    Both good photographs but I think I prefer the second. Thanks for the tip about the Awards. I’d never heard of them, but I’ll take a look.

  17. I love the second one as the bridge is providing a great frame for what lies beyond it.

  18. Great photos. I prefer the composition of the second one best! Have a wonderful week!

  19. Nato says:

    I think I prefer the first, the vertical shot. I like the way I can see the arch connect with the ground and how the support is on the side. It is just great framing! You come up with some much information on these posts! Now I have another great site to check out. Thanks!

  20. As always you provide us with a handful of interesting images. I think I like the second one better. It has a more distinct composition and a leaner graphic quality. I like the high contrast you have treated both photos with.

  21. Angeline M says:

    Happy Monday, Sally. I really like your second photo with more attention to the arch with this closer view and framing. Black and white is just so amazing! Thanks, too, for the tip this week and link; I can’t wait to get into that one!

  22. The second one grabbed me. I like that I can see more of the arch in the structure, and the way it’s supported by the crane. Love how you’ve captured all the details and made it look like a work of art.

  23. Sue says:

    Interesting post, Sally. I like your first image best as it’s a stronger and bolder composition, fewer distractions…

  24. Maria F. says:

    Sally, I always like your B&W’s. I like the high contrast and graphic quality.

  25. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Hi Sally,
    I like your second image. It has more of a graphic quality—the interplay of the cross-braces of the arch and the scissor-lift—and less of the background in the first photo. Both images are good choices for B&W. Ω

  26. Besides the enjoyment of reading your thoughts on technology, I find your photos timely reminder to look at things other than nature, my go-to subject, for excellent photos. Have a wonder-filled week, Sally.


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