Black & White


Indiana Dunes white


Although I appreciate black-and-white photography, especially for its ability to display dramatic contrast and create tension, I normally find myself reluctant to produce landscape images in that format, despite an admiration for classic landscape photographers like Ansel Adams. Street photography and portraiture seem well-suited for such a look, but I regret loss of color when capturing certain natural surroundings, particularly as I include specific aspects in vivid seasons—spring blossoms, summer sunsets, and fall foliage.

I tend to agree with the narrator in Seek My Face, a John Updike novel about the art world, who comments at one point that “the whole world comes to us, as we experience it, through the mystical realm of color. Our entire being is nourished by it.” Nevertheless, some settings, especially in winter, seem more conducive to depiction in black and white, which lends a sense of abstract atmosphere, perhaps due to the stark juxtaposition of darkness and light. Indeed, Henri Cartier-Bresson, known for mastery of monochromatic photography, wrote in The Decisive Moment, his iconic book: “Black-and-white photography is a deformation, that is to say, an abstraction.”

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