I’ve been experimenting with black and white photography these past two weeks. Perhaps it is a bit ironic that as autumn’s colors are at its most glorious, I’m choosing black and white. It could be that my camera can’t capture the beauty of fall; but I think it is more of a mood. I hear friends say how much they love fall and its coolness, but I miss the sun and the warm. The last gasp beauty of the bright, God-painted trees can’t make up for the gray, cold rain.
Is it just the absence of color that creates the different moods of black/white/gray photos? Is it the lack of color that makes the observer focus on form, line, and shape? What gives the dreamlike, still, unearthly qualities to black and white photography?
As I was reading about the feelings that black & white photos evoke, one phrase keeps rumbling in my mind — that it creates a sense of stillness in time. Being here at the cottage does that for me as well, so the two have merged in this post. It is a stillness, a peace, a quietude that is not in my “other” life. It is almost as if time is standing still when we are here.
There is something else that a black and white photo implies — simplicity. I’m not sure why… Is it because it reminds us of a simpler time? Or is it that the colors don’t get in the way of what we see? Details and shadows all become clear, yet at the same time, shrouded in mystery…a metaphor for life, for God.
Life is simplified here at the cottage: work and jobs are left behind; meetings and responsibilities are rare; we don’t have much technology, just our cell phones and a television to watch Steeler games. We are focused on here, today, now, and what we have to accomplish — our purpose, for now. To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.–Ecclesiastes 3:1.
In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis writes,
The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.
Stillness of time,
Season of quiet,
Circle of life,
Listening to that other voice —
Black and white photos fit Apple Hill Cottage well.
(Don’t worry, I’ll be back to colors next week.)