photocritique by philip n. douglis, abc, iabc fellow
As simple as
black and white
Monochrome images provide a window into the past
take your best shot
Email photos for possible
use in this column to
The Douglis Visual Workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aphotograph can overcome the limits of memory. A storytelling image can take us back in time to reflect
on what was, rather than what is. And
while a photograph taken many years
ago can easily do this, we can create
contemporary photographs that work
as windows into the past as well.
Here are three such photographs.
Each uses monochrome to interpret
the past in its own way.
Portrait, Scottsdale, Arizona
I was having lunch in a local restaurant
with a tutorial student when I noticed
how the light through the window was
falling on the face of a man dining at
a nearby table. As he turned his head
into profile, the sun illuminated his
white hair and beard from behind,
making it seem as if he was lost in
thought. I made this portrait to take
advantage of the back lighting’s ability
to abstract the subject by taking away
all color except for the flesh tones in
the forehead. I converted this image
to black and white to make even those
tones vanish, further simplifying the
profile, and making the subject seem
more symbolic not only of thought
but also of age. By abstracting him
in this way, he refers more to the past
than the present.