Anne Chandler leads this week’s Lens Artists Challenge and she asks the burning question, “What’s your photographic groove?” (Please visit Anne’s website, Slow Shutter Speed, for her take and those of others).
Grooves? I’ve had more grooves than a 33 RPM album.
I’ve done macro, landscape, reflections, sports, oceans and other assorted bodies of water grooves. There’ve been clouds, bugs, railroads, old barns, broken down cars and brand new skyscrapers.
Well, now I’m grooving on monochrome, incorporating some of the old passions and adding others, most notably cemeteries – or more accurately, graveyards. For an explanation of the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard, go back two months to one of my previous posts.
I rarely shoot in black and white, preferring instead to shoot in color and then edit into monochrome. A color image can always be converted to black and white but the converse is not possible. As Emeril once said, “You can always add, you can’t take away.” Remember that the next time you have a jar of cayenne pepper in your hand.
Why black and white?
Because it lends itself to some of the moods I’m drawn to; the old, the forgotten, the decrepit, the desolate and the dreary. Yeah, I’m the life of the party. Old Edgar Allen Poe has nothing on me.
Some of the images in this post have appeared in previous posts.
A road trip through the American Southwest can deliver you to places lonely and forsaken.
Below: Part of what’s left of the old mining town of Goffs, California in the Mojave Desert.
Below: In Grants, New Mexico there’s no service at Charlie’s Radiator Service.
Can color properly convey the devastation wrought by a wildfire? Below: During the last leg of a 2021 road trip, we came upon the bleak remains of a forest in Northern California.
I love road trips and the main ingredient for a road trip is, well, a road – at least one. While a road passing beneath a canopy of autumn blazed trees begs for color, black and white serves a good road well, and a bad road even better.
Below: A road rolls past Iowa cornfields.
Below: A well worn Iowa farm road.
Below: A country road outside of Jackson, in California’s Gold Country.
Who doesn’t love black and white portraits?
If you want to soften the features you can make the skin look baby smooth.
Old guys like me? Accentuate the crags, age lines and beard stubble. They always add character (well, almost always).
Black and white portraits are distraction free. They’re clearer and cleaner.
Below: A street musician on Market Street in San Francisco. When we made eye contact and I pointed to my camera, he nodded to me as if to say, “No problem.” I smoothed out his features but only just a little (And he was pretty darn talented).
Below: Taken at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. No smoothing of the features here.
Below: At his first birthday party, my grandson Zackary had a meltdown during the Happy Birthday Song. The final tear.
Below: The piercing eyes of a Mudi dog
They fascinate me. They tell stories of lives lived and lost. Graveyards are living (and deceased) history. The stories that they tell are of tragedy, lives well lived and lives cut all too short. My goal is to put together a photo book of graveyards.
Below: The tombs of Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans.
Below: Photos of Silver Terrace Cemetery in Virginia City, Nevada. Virginia City is an old silver mining town. Walking through Silver Terrace and its rolling flinty hills, pocked with scrub brush, is like stepping back into the rugged 19th century.
Below: Gnarled trees are a required fixture at Silver Terrace.
Below: The sad history of child mortality.
Below: Who was it who was “Loved in life. Lamented in death?”
Below: Perhaps my favorite photo of Silver Terrace is of a wild mustang grazing near an old gravestone. If this doesn’t speak of Americana and the Old West, well…