Two Chimneys

The Mysteries of Black

 Normally, Black and White Photography is about creating images that have no color.   Thus, color will not distract the viewer from what the artist is trying to portray.

Two Chimneys
Two Chimneys

Two Chimneys is a modern photographic work portraying the top of a Spanish colonial hacienda. The two chimneys launching into the sky providing a wonderful texture contrasting the billowy cloud centered in the photograph. This photograph wouldn’t have the dramatic effect it does without black.

But, is black a color or a lack of color?  in fact, the very question of it being a color or not is a science filled theoretical mystery.

The answer to that question is anything but black and white. It’s actually a sort of gray. It depends a lot on whom you ask.

To a physicist, black is the absolute lack of color. Molecules of an item absorbing all the light rays and reflecting nothing in the spectrum back to the eye creating a lack of color known as black.

However, to a chemist or a 3-year-old with hand paints, black is a color. It occurs when you blend all the primary colors together. So, if you mix red, blue, and yellow pigments together you get black. This works for both paint and pigments.

Thus, the true answer of the question lies with whether you believe that color is a result of light spectrum being bounced off molecules or a chemical reaction resulting from the mixture of primary pigments.

These are the types of questions that keep scientists up late at night. For me, being an artist means I won’t lose any sleep. I get to use it in various cool ways to create a tone, texture or even a feeling. In photography it’s not so much about what it is but rather the way we use it to convey our thoughts into the art we create.

2 thoughts on “The Mysteries of Black”

  1. it is good to think about the technical definitions. but in the end, as you say, the artist focuses on the practical applications. it’s a good point and good to bear in mind. all the best.

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