As to why I separate black and white photos from color photos, it has more to do with intention than spectra. However pleasant it is to see only black and white images together, if only for the sake of consistency, I’m not trying to get the same meanings or implications from one format as I am from the other. Black and white is more photographic, perhaps less concerned with how things look than how they are. Color is more difficult in that we know immediately when it’s wrong, and can thus be easily distracted from what other subjects and objects the image might be putting to work. So a photo that works in color works in part because of its fidelity to how its subject appears without being photographed. A photo that works in black and white works in spite or because of its obvious distinction from a more varied palette. Not news, necessarily, but this seems as good a place as any to think out loud. Enjoy the photos.
These photographs were taken in the course of a single walk through Brooklyn Heights. Once I split from from the familiar paths of Henry and Clinton Streets, the architectural range and history was sometimes quite surprising. A beautiful neighborhood.
A key component of my wife’s birthday celebration was a visit to Wave Hill in the Bronx. We were there during peak bloom time for several of the flowering plants and trees and if I failed to capture the full range of what the park might offer it’s because I was captivated by whatever was in front of me. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you head up to this marvelous park. Admission is free on Tuesdays.
It’s my wife’s birthday this week and per our custom, she expressed a relevant wish to see the sun rise at Coney Island. Past efforts have been thwarted by weather, sickness, indifference, travel, and other interventions, seemingly divine and otherwise, but this year we made it and it was delightful. Not only did it fulfill a birthday wish extending back for a decade or more, but I hadn’t been there since I was a boy.
My father is a NYC native (Kingsbridge, Bronx — like any diligent New Yorker of his generation, he’ll be happy to tell you what made it both a harder and a better place to be from) and we made roughly annual visits to our family here and in New Jersey until I was 18 or so.
The trip to Coney Island was in 1977, maybe, or 1978. My uncle, my father, my brother and I went together to visit the Aquarium. There is a single photo from that trip, of my brother and me on a breaker, smiling from the relative high ground of the rocks. I wore a shirt with a 3 on it, a non-sequitur. That is, the number was not that of a favorite athlete or anything. Just a 3. It became, however, the title of the photograph, which my family refers to as The Three Picture, and in due time a personally-identifying numeral between my wife and me. Over the years she has bought me all manner of printed material featuring single 3s, some of which hang above my desk at this very moment. As it happens, unfortunately, I cannot right now find the photograph of origin. When I do, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, if you have a chance, please wish Kimberley a happy birthday.