Black and White (or not)

A black and white photo is light and dark, its sharp contrasts easy on the eye.

Perhaps black and white is easier on the mind as well.  No difficult decisions, no wavering, no questioning right from wrong.  But real life is in color, with many subtle hues and shades.  Condemned prisoners who crossed over The Bridge of Sighs in Venice got one last peek at their beloved city.  Did they see their world in terms of black and white, or in color?  Perhaps one’s perception depended upon whether one was looking in or out, whether one was coming or going. It is easy to cast judgements, until you have walked a mile in another person’s shoes, looked into her eyes, heard his story.  The world is not black and white.  It is the color of flesh and blood, with many gray areas.  What is the color of a human tear?

All images and words by Naomi Baltuck, copyright 2012

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Subtlethe w


Click here for more interpretations of Nancy Merrill’s Photo-a-Week Challenge: Muted Colors

For another facet of this topic,  check out this link by Carbon Leaf, The War Was in Color, and my post Remembering Uncle Lewis.



  1. i mayfly says:

    Beautifully expressed and illustrated…as is your norm 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Nikki.

  2. Madhu says:

    Excellent choice of images and words Naomi! Good job!

  3. This post makes a powerful, universal statement, Naomi. And, it is one that we need to remember as we are bombarded with too much color, sound, ideas, conflicting thoughts and all of the white noise that causes such dissonance in our heads!

    1. Hi George, very well said. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Millie Ho says:

    A human tear is as multi-hued as its spherical shape. Behavioural economists say people become more fervent decision makers if there are less decisions, so that could contribute to one’s quickness to judge. You are absolutely right, Naomi. In life (unlike in selecting a brand of toilet paper) there are many shades to every person and event. We must consider these shades before making the final stroke. Very thoughtful post.

    1. Hi Millie, that is interesting, and it makes a lot of sense. It is always good to hear from you, and I appreciate the insight you bring into a conversation.

  5. Lovely lovely lovely. picture and words. The thought of the color of a tear will stay with me today. Thanks.

  6. p.s. fix the typo in last line. it’s too beautiful for a typo! then you can delete this comment, as i cannot find your email address to give it to you in private! xo

    1. Thank you, Suzanne! You are one of those wonderful friends who tell you when you have mustard on your face or toilet paper on your shoe, because you need and want to know. My sister (another one of those dear friends) caught the typo too, and I had already changed it when I got your message. I wonder if it went out to all my followers in its original form, but it has been corrected. Thanks so much for your lovely and thoughtful comments (and the much appreciated heads up!)

  7. Cher says:

    Very touching and raw. The images you included align perfectly with your words.

    1. Thank you so much, Cher. I really appreciated your blog when I went to visit it.

  8. Amy says:

    Wow! Love it!

    1. Thank you, Amy! I really appreciate your visit.

      1. Amy says:

        Enjoyed visiting your site! Thanks to you, Naomi!

  9. Hi Amy,
    thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed yours too!

  10. beebeesworld says:

    I love the clarity in black and white photography-nice work! beebeesworld

    1. Thank you. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and share a comment.

  11. What a true and beautiful statement about our universe. I love your talent and that you share. 🙂 thank you.

    1. So dear of you! Thank you for your lovely words, and taking the time to share them.

  12. marina says:

    both so beautiful: I can’y pick a best 🙂

    1. So kind! I appreciate the visit, too.

  13. jakesprinter says:

    Great work my friend for this week theme,Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Jake, it was such an interesting topic. I thank you for posting the challenge, and stopping by for a visit.

  14. Lynne Ayers says:

    Nicely presented Naomi – I very much believe that we shouldn’t condemn or judge when we haven’t walked that mile. Black and white and all its subtle shades and tones and tints is perhaps more expressive than the riot of colour we are exposed to very day.

    1. Hi Lynne, it can have a stark beauty to it, a simple eloquence. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful comments.

  15. Tahira says:

    The pictures are striking, Naomi. And the words are haunting and beautifully said. Nicely done.

    1. Hi Tahira,

      Thank you so much for your very kind words. I appreciate your visit.

  16. mj monaghan says:

    Very nice Naomi. Love the pictures. So crisp and sharp. You’re right: the world is not black and white.

    1. Thanks, mj. It is always good to hear from you.

  17. Bams Triwoko says:

    Great captured.. Great work.. Love them.
    Thanks for visiting my blog… 🙂

    1. Thank you. I enjoyed your blog, and will be back again.

  18. alicematilda says:

    Now I’m here again, and it’s lovely as always : ) Thank you!

    1. Dear Alicematilda, thank you for coming. As always, I love to hear from you!

  19. rfljenksy says:

    Beautiful photos.. and love the words that go with them.

    1. Thanks so much–I appreciate your taking the time to visit and leave such a thoughtful comment.

      1. rfljenksy says:

        Thanks. It was a beautiful post.

  20. Carol says:

    You are such a thoughtful person – in many senses of that word, I suspect – and your photos are always beautiful. You are right, very little about life is black and white; I think a tear can glisten with joy or pour out sorrow – it will take on the color of the emotion creating it.

    1. Dear Carol, that is so beautiful and poetic! Thank you so much for sharing it. I will hold that image of a tear in my mind.

  21. restlessjo says:

    Whoa, strong stuff, Naomi. Love the allusion to the Bridge of Sighs. Great post.

  22. pattisj says:

    You painted that that quite well, Naomi.

  23. adinparadise says:

    Wonderful thoughts on black and white, Naomi. Love your two images.

  24. 4amWriter says:

    So true. Judging someone before we have experienced their challenges or strife only keeps the walls up.

    1. Imagine how much kinder a world we would live in if only…
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for stopping by.

  25. Love the black and white! I told my students the other day they had to color their pictures. I said “We don’t live in a black and white world.” It sure would be easier if we did sometimes!

    1. Maybe easier, but so much less interesting. I sure appreciate your visit, and I love your story!

  26. eof737 says:

    Great point of view and photo choices… Now all we need is mutual world and
    blog love. 😉

    1. Fingers crossed! Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth.

  27. Touch2Touch says:

    What a beautiful meditation on the shades of gray —

  28. Grace says:

    Beautiful images. Beautiful thoughts.

    1. Thank you, Grace. That means a lot to me.

  29. Kate says:

    I remember in school being taught to paint being amazed that to paint black you shouldn’t use black paint – it looks too harsh if you do – and where I wanted white on the white paper I was told that I had to paint it there. Even black and white isn’t as simple as black and white. Loved the post.

    1. Love your comment! Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

  30. Hmmmmm. Seems black and white was in the air!

    Very nice!

  31. I agree my friend. Beautiful B&W images that makes the reader reflect on realities of life. This is so true, “It is easy to cast judgements, until you have walked a mile in another person’s shoes, looked into her eyes, heard his story. The world is not black and white. It is the color of flesh and blood, with many gray areas.” Thanks.

    1. Thank you for visiting, and taking the time to share your thoughts on this subject. It is always good to hear from you.

  32. elisaruland says:

    An interesting and thoughtful response to your photo challenge, Naomi. I will be pondering the color of a human tear for the rest of the evening, I’m sure!

    1. Dear Elisa, thank you so much for your kind comment. I really appreciate your stopping by.

  33. This is raw and basic. I love it. Awesome, Naoimi.

    1. Thank you, Tess. It is always good to hear from you.

  34. Paula says:

    I agree with what you said… well taken Naomi 🙂

  35. Hi Paula, I appreciate your visit, and your taking the time to comment.

  36. Great images and thoughts. Thanks for joining the challenge!

    1. Thanks so much for the pingback!

  37. cocoaupnorth says:

    Powerful post.

    1. Thank you so much for the visit, and for taking the time to share your very kind response.

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