Friday, January 14, 2011

It's a Black & White World

Black & white shots from the past month or so.

I think I'm drawn to black & white photography for the same reason I'm drawn to Japanese (Zen) and Chinese (Sung dynasty) painting and Shaker hymns - the simplicity. It's a very simple, sometimes even stark, line created on first impression, but deeper examination reveals great depth and complexity, yet all executed with the same simplicity that created that first impression. It's the kind of simplicity that reduces the subject to its bare bones, and yet those bare bones themselves are alive with movement, crossing and recrossing and creating new patterns and motifs. Color has its uses, and I also love a good color photo, but sometimes I need to relax with a bit of pure black & white simplicity.

And speaking of simplicity that reveals depth, here's "The Wonderful Year" by Roger Eno and Kate St. John from their 1992 CD The Familiar. This music reminds me of the kinds of movies we used to watch in school back in the '60s: filmed in black & white, usually produced by the Canadian School Board (and why we were watching them in Baltimore County, Maryland, I've never figured out), often including scenes of landscapes seen from a moving vehicle, and the musical score sounded much like the music on this recording. When I look at these photos while listening to this music, I feel like I'm right back in my 9th grade English class watching one of those Canadian movies. Everyday magic!

Photos & text © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I agree! Beautiful! I think our eye notices the color first. Take the colors away and we notice the forms, outlines and details.

  2. Much harder to take a good b&w photo than colour, as the detail is so crucial. And what Betsy said. These are lovely.

  3. I know it's a very different environment to the one you're used to but it is very rural and pretty.

  4. I think in one of your earlier posts about b&w photos you mentioned the importance of texture. Your pic of the river is a great illustration of that. Good work as always.