“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology
It’s only been a few weeks since I focused on black and white images and already I can start to see the beginnings of a direction.
I think that Jung had it right when he said that “your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” Look to the work of others and you are dreaming. Seek approval from others dream. Look inside and awaken.
Kind of deep words but then life and photography exists on many levels.
I am finding black and white to be more about seeing potential in a scene and then developing it when I get home. Color for me has always been about seeing the shapes, colors and textures and magnifying them on the computer. I usually have a fairly solid sense of what the final image will look like from the moment I release the shutter. Black and white is the complete opposite.
On the Alberta prairie there are buildings of every shape and description every few hundred meters. Some are hidden in trees others, the ones I like are out in the open against the sky.
The conditions that worked for me in color are not the best the kind of black and whites that I am reaching towards. Because I am usually shooting with long exposures of from two to five minutes the skies for the time being at least are completely unpredictable. What direction are the clouds traveling? Are they side lit? Back lit? What direction are they moving? How much blue sky is there around them? Is it completely overcast? These are some of the things that are making this so interesting for me.
This is where the part Jung states about looking into your heart comes into play. Once I open up the RAW image I have an almost blank canvas with only a rough framework to play upon. In the RAW there are the bare bones of shape, shadow and light. Photography becomes less at this point about photography and more like playing with a pencil and paper, lightening this, darkening that and moving forward with the result. Only when looking at this RAW again do I see the lines of the dirt road doing the narrowing perspective thing towards the top of the hill. I was aware of it when shooting but did NOT make a conscious effort to frame it this way, it just “seemed” to fit better like this.
Where before I would process a color image in less than ten minutes and be finished, now I find myself, playing for an hour, saving the photo and re-visiting it and changing or moving it forward. It’s a completely different way of doing things.
Places in the landscape that I would drive by before I now see with fresh eyes. Is this barn photo worthy? How about that tree out in the open worn bare by grazing cattle?
It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s fun. It’s me on a different level. It’s my vision. It’s my style.