November 01, 2016

Black & White

November 1, 2016 (306/366)

“Colour is everything, black and white is more.” – Dominic Rouse, photographer

Synesthesia, from the Ancient Greek σύν - together and αἴσθησις - sensation, is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. 

I have always suspected that I have a tendency toward this phenomenon. Numbers, letters, days of the week, months, etc. have always been associated with a specific color in my mind.  Some of these associations seem logical, representing the traditional or natural occurrences during that time of the year: February is red and, for the past three years, my February pictures have intentionally been shades of red and pink. October is orange and has naturally featured the hues of the changing foliage. But why is 5 red and 7 yellow? Isn't L green and Tuesday blue for everyone?  

November naturally represents an absence of color as the world turns brown and gray and the days get shorter and darker. Natural light becomes a precious commodity while artificial light distorts color and clarity. I have often struggled with my November photographs as my work day begins and ends in darkness. This year, rather than bemoaning these limitations, I'm accepting a new challenge. I will embrace the lack of color and post only black and white images. When a day fails to present me with an interesting or beautiful subject, I will search my archives for previously-rejected images that can be improved by stripping them of color and focusing on light (natural and artificial), shadow, texture and composition. As Elliott Erwitt said, “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”

[Archival photo: Japanese Tea House, Sturgeon Bay, WI - July 25, 2015; iPhone 6 f/2.2 1/30 4.15mm ISO100]