Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Autumn B&W Abstracts


That's right, autumn Black & White (not Color) abstracts ;-)

Assuming that the most meaningful role photography plays as an art form is as an "aesthetic language" that an artist may use to express his/her feelings (rather than as simply a vehicle for strict representational recreation of physical phenomena), it follows that if an obviously colorful scene unfolds itself for an artist in some way other than by its color (say, by its forms and/or tones), then a B&W "expression" of that otherwise colorful scene may be the preferred vehicle of communicating the emotion felt during the act of capture.

For me, such is clearly the case for the two images displayed here. In both cases, the color versions contain many sutble and beautiful tones of yellow and orange; and each color version properly and unmistakenly conveys a sense of autumn. However, in neither case was color responsible for grabbing my attention.

In the first image (at the top), I was drawn to the meloncholic, decaying leaves and the reflected form of a tree with its bare truck and branches. While a lovely sepia-like sheen marked the surface of the water, and there was a hint of an orange and brown "glow" beneath (which, together, instilled a sense of detached nostalgia), it was the purity of shapes and tones alone with which I made a personal connection; and through which I resonated with autumn's slowing energy.

In the second image (below), I witnessed (and experienced) a fleeting convergence of subtlety interpenetrating worlds; worlds not of color per se, but - again - of gentle forms and tones.


It was only after a long quite gaze at this serene self-contained world (surrounded by cliffs and massive boulders that I've deliberately left out of the small composition) that I eventually noticed how much the bright yellow leaves floating on the water stood out from the rather muted brown tones that had them surrounded.

For me, in that mysterious moment of meditative, inner reflection and understanding, there was no separation between leaves and water; or between foreground and background. I felt the quiet rhythm of the scene; nonpartitioned, unlabeled, uncategorized, and undifferentiated. Indeed, I might argue that the color, when I finally did see it, actually disturbed the essence of what I "saw" and was far - far! - from necessary for my being able to experience it.

Thus, it is the B&W version - and not the color! - that best conveys a sense of what I felt when I looked down at this little scene; and, insofar as these images themselves capture a part of my experience of autumn, here then is a bit of autumn, as revealed by two humble Black & White abstracts.

4 comments:

Gary Nylander said...

I must admit I'm a I love black and white images, I like the one posted at the top of this article, the simplicity of the composition and the fact that its a story telling image, with the tree reflected in the water and the leaves in the fore ground, I think its a wonderful image. I like your color images too from your prevous post but I think its a lot harder to pull off a decent black and white image of fall leaves because with out color one looses a good deal of the first impression impact that your color fall images contain.

A.V. Michaels said...

I must agree with you, there is something soothing and particular about the B&W. Brings to mind all sorts of thoughts. Thanks again for your great work and meaningful thoughts!

Zen said...

I love B/W photos and having discovered I can see your photos larger, give me a whole new perspective on your views!

Eric said...

Love that first one. Beautifully framed.