Monday, October 31, 2011

Thinking In Color

The Same Image in Both Color and in Black and White


One common thought on photography is that the photographer should previsualize the final print while taking the photograph. Back in the days when I shot mostly black and white film I eventually got to the point where I did "see" the final print as I was looking through the viewfinder or on the ground glass. I grew in my photography to the point where the individual acts of photography (photographing, developing, and printing) were all part of a greater whole wherein I saw the ultimate product prior to its actual emergence as a finished print.

It was sort of like "remembering" what the print looks like prior to snapping the shutter. There came a moment or a flash of insight, where I knew that I was in the flow - that the image I was seeing was what I came to create. I knew too, whether the image called for color or black and white. I often worked in that state up until the day that I dismantled the darkroom, and took a break from my art.

When I started to photograph again in earnest about six years ago, it was in digital, and mostly in color. It took me awhile to learn the medium, and the differences between it and color slide and black and white film. The first couple of years I mostly worked in color. Then over the course of the last year, I again started working in black and white. 

I started making black and white conversions, but I seldom took the image while thinking black and white. Sometime in the past few months, I slipped back into previsualizing the final print. I started to notice that I was looking at form and tone as much as I was at color and hue. 

Nowadays, while I photograph I develop a sense of what the final print should look like - black and white, inkjet color, glossy or matte. It was just recently that I understood that the color imagery that I sought to produce for years is now part of my repertoire. I sometimes previsualize matte paper prints with their subdued saturation and with soft hues.

The bottom line to all of this is that I feel directly and strongly connected to the entire process of creating my art. I am at a place in my development where I create images. I do sometimes "luck" into a nice composition, but mostly I am present with the subject matter throughout the entire process. 

At times while I am photographing, and occasionally while I am printing, I feel as connected as I have at any time when I sat and meditated, or at any other time when I attempted to come to an understanding as to what life is all about. This is my Bliss.