Hailstones and Halibut Bones

May 14, 2020

Colors are imbued with emotion and are one of the ways art speaks to us (http://www.thepagegallery.com/blog/color-key-colin-page.) That remains true even in a black and white photograph. There is a pull of nostalgia because of its historic use. And the subject takes center stage when the colors are distilled, the contrast feels amplified, and can pull you to a singular focus. But equally, our subconscious reading of black and white as colors comes into play. Here is an excerpt from a children's book of color poems by Mary O'Neill:

"WHAT IS WHITE / White is a dove / And lily of the valley / And a puddle of milk / Spilled in an alley - / A ship's sail / A kite's tail / A wedding veil / Hailstones and Halibut bones..."

"WHAT IS BLACK / Black is the night / When there isn't a star / And you can't tell by looking / Where you are. / ... / The sound of black is 'Boom! Boom! Boom' / Echoing in / an empty room..."

Sal Taylor Kydd's nostalgic black and white images conjure just these kinds of emotions. Color is a tool to convey a mood and tell a story, and here the white hand feels supernatural, divine, and the black water a deep pool. Along with subject, lighting, composition, the use of black and white are like characters coming together to tell the story of this photograph. Their use renders the image more powerful, its meaning deeper.

Related posts:

Blue Sky Blue Sea
Colin Page on Color and Light
Color Key with Colin Page

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