FOCUS 52 Project. When I hear black and white, I think of the old riddle, "What is black and white and red all over?" The traditional answer is "a newspaper". The print is black, the paper white and red is the homophone of read, to read the paper.
Black and white in photography is the origin of photography for me. Black and white photos are what lured me to the art form. I first learned to shoot color chromes, slides, because there is little room for error. I then learned more deeply about this media with black and white photography. I learned everything from shooting, to developing and printing. The entire process gave me a holistic understanding and appreciation of photography. Edward Weston, Georgia O'Keefe and Man Ray being among my favorites.
I have found shooting digital challenging, especially with black and white. All of my photos seem muddy. I have a friend who usually shoots in black and white and I just love the shades and tones in his work. So I through I'd give it another try. I went to some of my favorite places to shoot and the photos weren't feeling right to me. They all looked muddy and mirky. I tried shooting them in color and changing them to black and white with software, but they just weren't what I was looking for.
While driving, I thought about my neighbor's lions. The story with the lions is as follows. The house across the street had gone into disrepair due to the fact that the owner was elderly and could no longer maintain up keep of the house. When the new owner began fixing up the house the neighborhood was thrilled because the place was no longer falling apart. As we saw the property looking more and more manicured we were glad to know that, once again, this house would be restored to it former glory. Just when we thought it was finished, other additions began appearing on the property. Without taking you all through that experience, let me just finish this tale with the two lions.
Yes, lions in my neighborhood. When they first arrived on either side of the stairway that lead to my neighbor's front door, I was mortified. When their owner decided to paint their manes gold, I was dumbstruck for weeks. This was the tackiest thing I have seen since the Beverly Hills Sheik painted the pubic hair of the statues that surrounded his house. (A local story that caused traffic jams for months.) The schock and disdain lasted for some time. After a while, I became accustom to them. They didn't bother me as much as the initial schock. I guess most eye soars don't hurt as much once you get used to them and they just became a part of the background. One rainy day as I was leaving the house and I looked over at the lions. They were were wet from the rain and their bodies look not concrete gray as usual, but jet black. This with the shiny gold mane was one of the most gorgeous statues I'd ever seen. They took my breath away, again. Even though they are truly striking in color, I hope you can see the majesty in this black and white photo.