Black & White

The world is full of amazing shapes and textures, from big skies down in size to small shells and bits of driftwood, or even a bird's wing. This is perhaps how we first started to see the world as very young children, always close to the ground, seeking out strange minute shapes lying on the ground and hidden in the grass.nVisual artists never grow away from this fascination with shapes and textures, and whether with brush, pen or camera they all go in search of these things almost every day. Mostly this takes place in colour, but perhaps many of us sometimes, and some of us most of the time, turn to black and white for the way in focuses attention on shape and texture. With colour there are other things to look at, but monochrome leaves us with only the vividness of texture.nBlack and white photography can give us stunning detail and patterns, but this presents unique challenges. With the absence of colour comes the need to work closely with shapes, tones and textures so that the image has a coherence made only from light and shadow. And to achieve this the artist needs to look for contrast and dynamic shapes, to learn and practice to see without the irresistible sparkle of red, blue, or green intervening. Some artists work for a while only in black and white, to teach their mind to see this way more routinely, and some grow experienced in choosing natural settings or subjects that work primarily as a result of their texture and shape. Both have learned to spot when colour is irrelevant to, or has a negative effect upon, the subject, and what each have in common is the ability to see the world in a way that brings a special kind of visual clarity to subjects that would often otherwise be passed by without a second glance. Black and white art can show us a different kind of reality, one where previously hidden structure and content is brought to the fore.

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