An aside on the gray scale

Before visiting the gallery, consider the gray-scale rationale.

Over time, some color images will certainly creep into the Cylcoid Fathom collection. But why do we focus nearly exclusively on black and white? It’s not that we are purists. Color says a lot. It says it in its own language. The relationship of image components includes information about their relative hues. Sometimes this is crucial to the message and sometimes without it, not only what something means but even what something is is confused.

For us, however, color often says too much. It overwhelms the shapes of some objects. It removes the mystery in others. A quiet gradation of light moving softly over the smooth limb of a curved object can be shattered by red, green or blue in any but the sublest, most muted tones. A graphic quality is subordinated by color. Our rods lose to our cones in their battle for the right side of our brains. Their is a stark and provocative depth to black and white that can be cluttered by color.

Monochrome in photographic imagery is not analogous to a boring monotone in music. Rather it is like a single instrument that gets to play the full scale by itself – pure, no chords, and no rhythm section. As one’s eyes follow the light, a flute or bassoon follows the notes until in your mind’s eye and ear, an overall impression is synthesized, but only if the whole piece works.


Site Map