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

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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.

76 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

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