Friday, July 24, 2009

Filters...

Photo of a flowery meadow on one of my hikes


As I've mentioned previously, I've had a lot to think about in the past few weeks. After thinking about all of those happenings and as I have tried to capture the beauty around me on film, I have come to an important conclusion and maybe even one that will become a truth for me:


Seldom are things worthy enough to be seen in black and white, and so I must dare
to think in color.


As I think about this idea, the more intrigued I become. Sometimes it's much easier to see things in black and white instead of seeing a situation in all the dimensions color offers. Seeing in black and white makes a complex situation simpler; it makes things more digestible; it tones down the graphics of it all. There are sometimes when seeing things in black and white works well and is the best choice. Sometimes the textures, angles, and shades of the situation are just so vivid, so beautiful, or so horrid that we just can't comprehend them in color, but a black and white filter simplifies it just enough that we can better understand what is at hand. There are very few situations worthy of a black and white filter.

Seeing in black and white limits our understanding. It flattens out those subtle textures, angles, and shades that can only appear in color; it flattens them to the point where those details disappear completely. As those dimensions disappear so does our full understanding of the situation. We don't see the blemishes. We can't tell if we're looking at shades of red, blue, or green. We loose that depth that only a color-filter can detect. As a result, we also miss out on the details that help us feel and think in 3-D. There are very few situations worthy of a black and white filter.

There are also those situations that lie in between-- there are always those situations. These in-between situations are some of the hardest. The full-color details are painfully vivid to the point where we are tempted to ease it with the black and white filter. But, when we try to put them in black and white they are muted just enough that we can't we can't connect with them in the same way we once did. Sure, black and white can take off the edge, but when we take off the edge we often lose a little bit of the truth. There are very few situations worthy of a black and white filter.

When I think about these two filters from behind my camera lens, at my teacher's desk, in my living room, or from behind the newspaper, I feel challenged. There are a lot of situations I'd like to put in black and white. It might make something look cooler; it might make something more acceptable; it might make something easier to deal with or come to a conclusion about. But, are those situations worthy of the black and white filter? Will it lose too much detail and depth. Will it lose too much of the truth? And so I have concluded: seldom are things worthy enough to be seen in black and white, and so I must dare to think in color.


Which filters do you use?

4 comments:

Don said...

Wow. Prose and poetry. Photography and philosophy. Point-of-view and paradigms. I. am. so. impressed.

A delightful post. You'd make Kohlberg, the king of levels of moral reasoning, proud: http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

You be a thinker, doer, and feeler!

Oh yeah. (Thanks for the food for thought.)

Miss H~ said...

Don-

Thanks so much for the encouragement. It took a while to think about it all and get it down on the screen, but it was fun to write, think, and create.

Miss H~ said...

P.S. to Don-

Thanks for that link... it made me think about some things I could do or tweak in my classroom. :)

Saphron said...

I like to just stick with black and white. :)


(Kidding!)