Shading Gray, the World in Monochrome

Would I prefer snow to the drizzle that seems terminally expressed by the color of the weather these last several days, a mood evoked by the grayness of today and yesterday and the day before that? Perhaps I would–what would I? Another question to beget other questions about weather and mood. My soul is romantic, I imagine, but then that is romantic in the sense when the term is applied to Byron, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge . . . I could go on, but will stop here. No, I won’t. I am a reflection of the violence of nature . . . 

Who wouldn’t prefer snow to rain? I ask rhetorically, secure in the notion that snow must be universally preferable to rain. I know it is for me in December. I prefer 28 degrees Fahrenheit with snow to 38 degrees Fahrenheit with rain. Yes, I would prefer 30F with snow to  34F with rain. Who would not? Everyone would, no? Preferences for weather are often determined by mood, mood determined sometimes by weather; there are times when these are not mutual, nor reciprocal. There are times when is exactly this, a mood determined by weather and the preference for weather in my mood. 

Weather reflects my mood, I used to be sure and oftentimes said. Yes, my mood, the weather . . . I am the storm that blows, the sun that shines, the rain that falls, the night that comes, and so on and so on . . . yes, and so on, but what this has to do with the world in monochrome . . . it does not, does it? No! I am certain that shooting the human body naked or nude in color is more pornographic than if it were done in black and white, in monochrome. 

I do impose my preferences on my judgements of the world. But snow would make the graying of the day less intense, less grayed. Night photos with snow around are always clearer than when  there is not snow and thus no intensifying of whatever light is around. I remember having learned how long ago I cannot tell that black and white photography is an arrangement of shades of gray–yes, we will to be able to escape the movie for a while–but this monochrome scale does and does not have everything to do with the film by the title,  Is there no real black and no real white? I’m asking. Waiting for a response; En Attendant Pour Une Response,  

I have been told that in any black and white movie there is no black and there is no white–for sure. There are how many shades of gray in our optics? What is it that I do see on the borders of the film in Fritz Lnag’s M? The same circumambient dark I see in De La Tour’s Penitent Magdalene at the Met, surrounded in her room by the dark, pitch black perimeter .Everything from one end of the monochromatic scale of black to that of white, though, I am able to imagine when taking photos–I can see color arrangement; I can see the many shades of gray with the eye in the mind–and this is not an allusion to the film. How many shades of gray make up a black and white film? I am genuinely asking. The black and white film I buy at B & H on 9th Avenue across from the Cheyenne Diner I have used for decades now–is it that long, really? The last time I was there was with my Dad–no, it wasn’t the last time I was there, the time I am remembering. I was there getting some 8mm movie film processed–color–when? My last time there . . . the last time I was there with my dad we did go to the Cheyenne Diner.

How long ago now–there are many things I become surprised by how old they are in my life, how long ago they happened. I cannot say that the last time I was there with my dad, I bought film at HB and burgers at the cheyenne Diner.  We did go and get burgers at the Cheyenne. How long before he died–he died in the morning with the sun breaking through the clouds after having snowed a few inches the night before. It’s four years ago that my dad died as the sun broke through the gloom. 

I was once told that neither extreme on the monochromatic scale is actually present in a film–but that can’t be, can it? This is not a point of contention for me when I shoot with black and white film; is there true white and true black in what I have shot. I have gone into the extremes of low-light photography  and let me tell you I have recorded on film, black and white. I have hundreds and hundreds of photos in black and white stored in boxes in a closet in y apartment. . . a closet photographer, no? Interesting, this idea about being in a closet, or about being closeted is not only about sexual orientation and sexuality. Every human soul experiences this closet of his own, this closet of his desires, his feelings, his ideas, whatever have you that’s locked ip in you.

All black and white photography is the world in shades of gray . . . I won’t be able to wait for the film to go away, fade out–I am not able to talk the truth of monochrome without one or another allusions or references to the film being made. There are always illusions we keep for however brief a time, a moment we have. 

I see scenes in monochrome. There are many scenes in the world that are not to be recorded in monochrome; there just isn’t the contrast for them. There are sets that should only be shot in black and white. What makes a beautiful photo in color can be the dullest and palest in contrast of all in black and white photos. After shooting with black and white film long enough, you get accustomed to seeing the world in shades of gray.


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