here are a few of my older photos that I also think portray "abandon" well.
This week I looked at the world in black and white. But it occurs to me that is exactly what we have been doing too much lately. Every artist knows that contrast is important; shadows and highlights are what give the image depth and edge and impact, but it is the gray areas that can provide the detail and connections.
While in politics or mask-wearing, or climate change there will always be the presence, and maybe the need for, the black and white extremes, the answers are usually in the grey areas. The areas of nuance. The areas of softness. The connective areas.
In editing these photos (which was our challenge this week), it was tempting to go for the high contrast. Maybe that is a throwback to my roots in relief printmaking. But as I worked on them, I realized how important the gray areas were. By subtly making the grays darker or lighter, it would change the focus to a whole different area. They could calm down either of the extremes of black or white. They could add a softness and stillness to the subject.
I have included this “before and two afters” of one of the photos so show you how the entire focus of the photo, the woman in foreground, changed to the people in the background with the edits and crop. (click on them to see them larger)
Perhaps that is how the news and commentary we hear these days gets edited.
They leave most of the blatant black and whites, but change the focus, nuance or slant by just shifting the gray areas of the story to change the picture to meet their purpose. Both of my pictures above are truthful. Both show a moment in time that actually existed, but the read, the inference and the narrative has changed. So neither is “fake news” but each tells a different story.
So what is my point? I guess just the old saying Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware! In art we accept the use of artistic license; it is what gives artists their voice and expression. When it starts to enter journalism or science, when those gray areas get shifted towards supporting either the black or white, then we must recognize it and be aware that it is happening. If we limit ourselves to seeing only the whites and blacks of an issue, we will miss the gray areas of the picture that include both some black and some white.
In the meantime, here are more of this week's photos for you.
We finally did it! Jon and I got our first vaccinations. It took more than an hour on the CVS website, with a map of Virginia close at hand, but I managed to schedule us both. Last Friday we drove 50 miles to the Northeast to get mine, and today we drove 50 miles to the Northwest to get his.
This morning was gloomy and cold and we "had to" go for Jon's shot. I wasn't looking forward to the drive which included a bit of highway over the mountains. As always, though, I took my camera. It was absolutely beautiful. The snow and ice had covered the trees, but the roads were fine. The frosted trees stood like lace against the hillsides. Luckily Jon was driving, so I could roll down my window and snap away.
Snow in Virginia is a gift. Unlike in Wisconsin where it is a way of life, in Virginia it is a celebrated event. Here, without snow plows and snow blowers with which to remove it, it is accepted that you just enjoy it while it lasts because it will be gone soon. The difference is the light. In the north there are those glorious days of blinding-white snow, purple-blue shadows, and snot-freezing temperatures. We don’t usually get those in Virginia. When the sun comes out here, the snow will probably melt so our snow days are usually foggy, milder, and soft. So while things were melting in the city, it was beautiful in the mountains, and my “had to” day changed to a “thank you” day.
Here are some of the pictures:
One of the first things one does in drawing class is draw shapes; the cube, the cone, the sphere. Shape is also one of the fundamental elements for design and art. This week, in my photo group, we also addressed it as an element of photography: How to pull out a singular shape from your surroundings and photo it.
Again, reflecting life. Are we in good shape? Are you out of shape? Shipshape. Shapeshifting. What shape is the world in? We are all squared up. Round and round she goes. Lovers’ triangle. And so many more idioms about shape.
I found it much easier to see round shapes than the more angular varieties.
Maybe that is my visual preference, maybe it is something more primitive inside. We relate to the round of the moon, the sun, the earth. Roundness is soothing. The circle is never-ending.
While shooting this week's shots, I loved the way I was looking at the details of the world. I was also taking things out of context and celebrating them for their own character. Sometimes it was about the presence of the shape. Sometimes it was about the absence of the shape. Sometimes the shape was merely implied.
Anyhoo… enough musing and here are the photos:
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !