Fluffed Lines in the Frame
All Colour and No Substance
I guess I am obsessed with black and white photos. Don’t know what it is, but they move me…physically. It’s like taking a shot in the guts or, sometimes, right in the temple.
Paul Kohl, a master of the black and white form, said colour obscures the narrative. Black and white on the other hand simplifies, reduces things down to their compositional relations. We pay attention to lines, textures, relationships. It seems more succinct, adding a clarity and finality to the message. Perhaps because it is other, other than the everyday visual world we inhabit.
Of course these things can be achieved in colour. But colour always seems to be interjecting, getting it’s two cents worth in. It’s like a noisy neighbour, we are emotionally attached to it, it doesn’t give us any space to think. Whereas black and white is like pressing mute, everything turns into mime, actions speak for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I love colour work. Some people use it so beautifully to celebrate the messy magnificence of everyday life, like Maciej Dakowicz. And I’ve worked on a lot of light painting projects like this one too.
At the beginning colour was often the spur that made me want to pick up a camera and shoot… the beautiful sunset, the mandarin-indigo of the sky. But these days, I am more likely to let the moment pass, immerse myself in it and let people with better talent turn it into the killer shot. I will get my colour fix elsewhere, somewhere more me, like this shot. I took it when I was waiting for my daughter to finish her dance club. I had time on my hands and a tripod on the back seat. So, I went to the railway tracks and wondered what composition JR might dream up for me if I gave them a 6-second window in which to paint.