Carving Light from the Darkness

Black and white. There’s a haunting beauty about it. Afterall, color is life. What are you left with when you strip it from a photo?

I remember the first time we were handed black sheets of paper in art school. We were told to draw the light instead of the shadow. It’s not something you ever really think about as you’re developing as a young artist. You translate shapes into lines and shadows. And from nothing springs forth your imagination.

You look at white sheets of paper as open ended fields of possibility. Even when your concepts require swaths of black, the idea of simply laying down more charcoal, paint, or ink isn’t all that jarring. But for some reason with black the mind sort of lurches to a stop.

There’s a sort of oppressiveness to it even though, in truth, there’s just as much possibility there.

For the past couple of years I’ve been working through depression and these photos remind me a lot of that struggle. There are days when depression is a lot like a sheet of black paper. It’s filled with just as much potential as someone else’s white sheet, it’s just harder to see it. You have to carve the bright spots out of the darkness.

Sometimes you light just enough to get you through the composition. Other times you fill it with light and movement and expression, but always, no matter how much you put into it, the color of life is still stripped away.

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These shots were from a test shoot with Ashley. She took care of her own hair, makeup and wardrobe. I think it was her idea to do an all black and white shoot, something I’ve wanted to revisit for years since an all black and white, film noir inspired engagement session a few years ago.

Did you enjoy these photos? Do me a solid and go like and share the Facebook page. It’s almost to 300 likes! lol

If you’re on Instagram, you can find me here.

And if you want to hear me ramble on about photography and retouching you can check out the YouTube channel too. There’ll be a new photocritique going up this weekend.