Monochrome Mondays

Ireland just seems to be about light and color. Of course the first thing one thinks of is the heavy abundance of green…which is everywhere. But does green always have to be green? As I became more comfortable taking photographs, I started thinking about context, especially in relation to monochrome. I still feel that monochrome is the heart and soul of photography. There is a natural essence to it. Perhaps it is because you need to imagine the colors you see before you in a black and white photo. You obviously know that a variety of colors comprise the shot, but in the best ones, you somehow do not mind. Your see the art and starkness of the scene that color often does not represent as well. You feel the terrain before you in a landscape shot in monochrome. You sense the noise and movement before you in a cityscape shot in monochrome. You feel a connection to the person in a portrait shot in monochrome.

As with a lot of my other photographs, I often take them in both mediums to cover myself. Color photography is still wonderful and I probably take more shots in color than monochrome (though the equation is maybe 60/40 now!) Using this method in time I have figured out certain photos I know will only work best in monochrome. Such was the case with this photo taken last summer in Donegal. A random field in a sloping valley, dotted with the occasional house or sheep. It was an overcast morning when I took this, but at one point the sun started peeking through. Up to that point I had been taking color shots of the lush green fields, but once I turned and saw the light beams shining down, I instinctively adjusted the camera for monochrome, and this is the result.

Do you see ‘the colors’ in a monochrome shot?

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Monochrome Mondays

I’ve always been a fan of optical illusions. Those subtle little works of art that play little tricks on the viewers eyes. They can be fun games to play with people. I’m sure everyone at some point has played the ‘is it a vase, or is it a silhouette of two people game’. Or stared at photos to reveal a hidden object after a period of time. Or tried proving that objects that are further away appear smaller (just like Father Ted once exasperatingly tried to do!). Here’s a list of some of the classic ones-http://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_optical_illusions

Artists such as MC Escher, Salvador Dali, and Marcel Duchamp utilized various types of optical illusions as well in their work. As I said in my recent post Terra Firma, sometimes in the moments before you take a photo, you get a sense of where you are going with the shot. You know what you are after, and you just hope the technique and decisions you choose are the right ones. I remember when I saw this scene for the first time I had the vaguest sense of it being an optical illusion of sorts in the way the archway fades up towards the distance. What do you think? What are your favorite illusions?

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle