Most of the time, I work in black and white. For me, color can be a distraction and with black and white, a subject is reduced to its essence, to its light and shadows. This subject, however, demanded to be seen in all its resplended hues. Yesterday, this dragonfly landed on a leaf of our bird of paradise outside a living room window. He stayed there, clinging to its perch as the wind swayed the leaf back and forth in the strong afternoon light. During lulls in the breeze, I reached for my telephoto lens and took some shots. With the dark background, this already brilliantly colored being seemed to pop off the screen. The color feels extravagant, almost painful, even after I reduced some of the saturation. There’s an impulse to shade my eyes against this radiant red. Still, what a glittering, beautiful jewel…..
Today, I transformed this being into black and white. It’s not the same image, but something more delicate and surprisingly ethereal. For me, there is something about black and white images (barring extremely high key processing) that provides respite for the eye from the daily bombardment of a rioting world of color.
Exactly, we’re bombarded with color chaos every day. And black & white (and grays!) is a relief for the senses, bringing higher sensitivity for perception of light, shapes, surfaces and textures, mood and emotion… Brilliant sample!
You’ve said it perfectly…..”color chaos”! There’s no lack of beautiful work in color, but the masterful use of that tonal spectrum of grays can provide that sense of relief you mention.