I thought spring would bring a blaze of color, demanding my attention as much as the fall glory does. And yes, there have been flowers everywhere. But my attention hasn’t been there. Now the greens of summer are ascendant, bringing their lush, monochrome to the landscape. Still, I’m not compelled to seek out the grand scene.
Then I was flipping through a book of Eliot Porter images, reading the history of his different approaches to photography. And it struck me – intimate landscapes. Porter’s Museum of Modern Art show in 1979 was ground breaking not only for it being color photography, but also from the closeness of the subjects. Porter’s choice of subjects was intimate rather than grand, following the adage that a photographer should show the viewer something common in a new way. Grass, leaves, rocks, trees – these all took on a new perspective with the compositions shown.
Much of Porter’s early work revealed this sense of the intimate in his B&W compositions as well. It was these images that caught my attention. With only the textures and tones he was able to bring the viewer into the image, presenting a realm worthy of exploration as the eye discovered patterns, forms, even stories.
This I get excited about. Now I want to look at the world and find these quiet compositions. And what better time than summer when everything is on display. And what better way than B&W, keeping color from distracting. Gradually I’m learning the virtue of monochrome!
Looking through my catalog I realize much of my attention has been spent on the grand landscape, with a passing interest in the macro world as documentary exercises. There are a few instances where I’ve tried to record something of the sort I’m now looking for. Hopefully I’ll have more to come as this interest plays out.